Linux is definitely not ready

I spent the day trying out two distributions of Linux: OpenSUSE 10 and Ubuntu 5.10. The main reason behind this was sheer boredom and the need for a challenge. I also wanted to learn an OS that I simply do not have much knowledge of outside a few random tries over the years. Plus, if I could ever switch from Windows (realistically), I would in a heartbeat.

I will say it now: Linux is NOT ready for everyday use by me.

I went in with as open of a mind. However, when it takes over 3 hours to get wireless networking working in OpenSUSE and NEVER getting it working in Ubuntu, you know something has horribly gone wrong.

What Linux needs to get me to switch:

  1. I maybe old fashioned, but both KDE and Gnome seem to be unpolished in many areas. It just didn’t feel right. Buttons being too big, menu’s organized very well in some areas and awful in other areas…it just didn’t feel well thought out.
  2. Linux wireless networking SUCKS. It is horrible and I wish all of the current ways to supposedly get it working die a horrible/painful death. It may work with an open network or WEP encryption (sometimes), but if you use WPA forget it.
  3. Fonts suck on Linux too. I installed some truetype ones and they still suck.
  4. If I was forced to use it for a week, I could probably come up with more reasons.

Now what I liked about Linux?

  1. It is amazing how fast an OS could be when you don’t have crap like antivirus programs running in the background sucking up memory and CPU. Ubuntu literally feels so fast, I love it.
  2. I loved it how I could easily add/remove/update every application on the system in meer minutes, from one central program. Windows needs this so bad it hurts. Why Microsoft never made Windows Update an one-stop shop for every Windows program out there is beyond me.
  3. It was quite interesting using something that I never used before

In the end though, if I can’t get something as simple as wireless working within 1 minute, then it isn’t worth my time. With Windows, when I insert the wireless card the first time, Windows pops up asking for the driver, I point it to the CD, and it installs. Click the little wireless icon in the systme tray, connect to my wireless network with WPA, wham, all set.

Why can’t Linux be that easy?

I can’t wait till Intel Macs come out. I have a sneaky feeling I’ll be first in line. Windows has to go, but right now there is no alternative.

5 Replies to “Linux is definitely not ready”

  1. The reason Linux can’t be that easy is because many manufacturers don’t provide Linux drivers. People with Centrino-based laptops are blessed with a beautifully working set-up out of the box, because Intel provides (mostly) open source drivers for their wireless cards, so Ubuntu and other Linux distributions can provide them. Other manufacturers, such as Broadcom, are notorious for particularly bad Linux support. These cards can still be made to work under Linux, but it’s a little more difficult. This how-to explains the process pretty well. Also, there are mailing lists and chat rooms full of people willing ot help you out with any problems you run into if you ever give it another try. The learning curve can suck, but it’s definitely worth it.

  2. I appreciate the help there. I understand Linux isn’t meant to be as plug-in-play as Windows, but main, couldn’t someone come up with a GUI for ndiswrapper and wpa_supplement configuration so it is all available with 1-2 clicks? Maybe I am trying to make it sound easy to do, but it shouldn’t be that difficult to script a GUI with a couple of console commands.

    Also there has to be an easier way to connect to wireless networks (and no, editing a file is not the way to do it). NetworkManager looks promising, but I couldn’t figure out how to install it and use it.

  3. Your criticisms of Linux pretty much coincide with many of mine… Honestly, in the realm of UI, most Linux distros are lacking something… I’ve yet to find a desktop environment that I’m terribly fond of…. Gnome reminds me of Windows 3.1…. KDE reminds me of Windows 95 and better, but it looks like something went wrong with it… and of course there are others…

    What didn’t impress me about Ubuntu and Debian is that they’ve got their own packages for everything… and if they don’t support a certain piece of software, well… I guess you can’t get it. Or at least, that’s the way I understood it. I wasn’t terribly impressed with the community supporting either project…. Maybe I just ran into bad people, but if you had something in mind that you wanted to do on your computer, and you didn’t know how to go about doing it, and you asked somebody, there seemed to be this whole, “Why on earth would you want to do that?” attitude and no one would help you.

    My fiance is currently running Gentoo with the Enlightenment desktop on his desktop… Gentoo is extremely flexible, but it lacks an easy install at the moment, but it’s extremely difficult to install and setup…. The community surrounding it seems to be a lot more friendly than what I’ve encountered with Ubuntu and Debian, and I’ve yet to hear anyone ask, “Why would you want to do that?” and Gentoo has this LOVELY command called emerge which allows you to install anything off of sourceforge.

    Overall, I think Linux has a long way to go before it’s really for mass consumption…. It just lacks in the UI department… and I guess I’m a little discouraged because I’ve heard more excuses from the Linux community as a whole on their UI issues than I have solutions.

  4. nikkiana, while the Gentoo “portage” installation system does include a lot of software, it certainly does not include everything on SourceForge. In Gentoo, Debian-based distributions like Ubuntu, and virtually every distribution of Linux, it is possible to compile software from its source code. This is harder in consumer-friendly distributions like Mandriva and Ubuntu that use packaging systems like RPM or APT, I think, because their developers include lots of patches in their software to include more functionality/make it more user-friendly. Gentoo’s portage does not suffer from this problem because the packages in Portage are compiled from source anyway, I think.

    It might be because I have been using Linux for a while, but I do not find its user interface problematic/annoying. I do find the lack of hardware support frustrating, though (ATI’s Linux graphics drivers break suspend support on my laptop, for example). I really like Ubuntu because it is easy enough for people who have never installed Linux to install, and it has very good hardware support. I switched from it to Gentoo because of flexibility issues – compiling my own kernel was far more difficult using Ubuntu, and I never really got it working.

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