Trying to go back

Linux, it's a double edged sword. It's awesome, there's no doubt about that. But it hates every one of it's users. The constant fighting to get it to do what you want as a desktop OS. As a server it's great, but the desktop still has a long way to go.
Over the last few month's i've not used my desktop much. My desktop dual boots Windows and Ubuntu 10.04. When i eventually got to upgrading to 10.10, the graphics setup just failed and died. Someone with less Linux knowledge probably would have reinstalled, since even the repair stuff didn't work. I basically had to get into a console, uninstall my ATI drivers, delete my entire Xorg config, and reset everything up.
So in place of my desktop, i got a netbook ( semi-netbook really, dual core atom processor with NVidia 9400M processor, runs Supreme Commander 2 pretty ok ). It came with Windows 7 Home edition. Windows 7 is ok, i can live with it. It's a lot better than XP and they even implemented a Mac style dock better than Apple. I've wanted to install Linux on there since day one but everytime i try out a live usb, i get some stupid trivial issue.
First with Ubuntu 10.04, my sound didn't immediately work. Something silly was wrong and it was a setting i had to tweak, but i'm not going to return to the hell i've had on my desktop with sound issues - i eventually just bought a new sound card to fix an OS issue.
10.10 came out, so i thought, awesome! Let me try the netbook edition. Crashed on first boot, because it needed 3D acceleration to be active for Unity. I had a lot of trouble attempting to activate the NVidia driver from a live usb, so i gave up and thought, let me preview the default gnome desktop. My sound was working, but it still had the same annoying problems that 10.04 has on my PC. The message popups in the top right go invisible when you mouse over them, but are still there. I want to be able to click on them, but no, that's not an option. The OS social integration is awesome, but 60% of the time doesn't login when i boot up and has other strange issues. So i gave up for a while.
I used to love KDE. I still do, great technology! So last night i thought i'd check out the latest Kubuntu. And it's truly awesome, beautiful and functional. Still has the Ubuntu issue of not just being able to activate the NVidia driver on live booting, but i expected that. Now imagine a person new to Linux. Boot up the live stick, open the browser. It says, 'Hey, we can install some kewl stuff to improve your browser experience, like flash and a bunch of plugins'. Click ok. It responds with, 'Blah blah flashplugin-installer blah blah blah'. Click ok and it closes. That's just terrible. Clean boot of the recommended 32-bit version, and it can't even install Flash?
Now having had this problem with Ubuntu 10.04, i know that for some reason the flash installer keeps breaking with the package manager, and there's supposed to be some easy way of fixing it. So opening up KPackageKit as my package manager, i search for flash. No where to be found. Wait a go communicating with your users Kubuntu. That's where i gave up. I used to have the patience for it, and go to the adobe site or scour forums for answers, but i'm long past that.
If a live usb disk can't convince me that the distribution is easy enough to not get my hands dirty - like i have for the past 10 years - then i'm just not ready to install it. If Android is the only Linux i end up using in the next few months, it's because all the desktop variants can't get basic things right.


  1. >Now imagine a person new to Linux
    this assumes you are not one of those, right? Stick with windows or OSX. These are better. You don't have to fight with them "to get it to do what you want as a desktop OS". Instead they will tell you how and what you have to do.
    p.s. don't confuse Ubuntu with Linux.

  2. I suspect you're not as experienced as you claim to be. If you were, you'd have known that Ubuntu and its variants lack a good deal of software (multimedia, video drivers, etc.) out of the box. Yes, those pieces are easy to add, but the user has to know that 1) they're missing in the first place, and 2) how to add them. For this reason, I don't recommend Ubuntu to people interested in Linux; instead, I point them to Linux Mint or its Debian Edition, or to PCLinuxOS.

    But there's another important issue: freedom (as in beer, as in speech, etc. etc.). Linux has it and the other OSs don't. If you don't care about that issue, then you should use OS-X, which is absolutely brilliant from a technological standpoint, or Windows 7 if that's what you're comfortable with. Linux is not Windows, nor is it OS-X, nor should you expect it to be.

    In my experience, one has to be willing to put up with the occasional inconvenience with Linux, and, yes, it can be frustrating at times. But, for me, the advantages (freedom, customizability, absence of viruses, resistantance to malware, masses of free software) far outweigh its disadvantages. If you don't feel that way, then why abuse yourself? You'd be better off with an OS that does what you want.

  3. Either you know what to install, or you do some research in those forums which you don't have time for. You seem to be stuck on Ubuntu as your only option, and picking Kubuntu as an alternative isn't really going elsewhere as its the same base, and Kubuntu doesn't really do either the base OS nor the KDE desktop much justice (in my experience).

    Windows and OSX don't prompt you for Flash, Java, or codecs (until needed, at least, and I've seen plenty of failures there as well); its nice that some distros try this but really, either you know how to do it yourself or you learn. You don't seem to want either; tough to be you.

  4. As a follow up, your "fighting the war against ignorance... and mass consumerism" requires that you don't always take the easy road of pre-installed closed apps. If you need that route and want Linux, try out Mint KDE.

  5. Why oh why people insists in confuse equaling Linux with Ubuntu!

    Ubuntu is Linux but Linux is not Ubuntu.

  6. Just to cover something, I started using Linux way back in the 90's with Red Hat. I then move onto SuSE ( before openSUSE ) and Mandrake. After Mandriva emerged, i was displeased with progress and moved back to SuSE which at that time became openSUSE. After a few years as an openSUSE user - and still a fan - i got frustrated with the minor incompatibilities with things like Gimp and Blender which made my work on my desktop harder. Because Ubuntu is so big and a huge chunk of Linux software is developed for it first, i decided that it was the best place to go. Even in my later years of openSUSE usage, most of the answers to problems i was having were found on Ubuntu forums. I only went Ubuntu because it was easier to get solutions and compatible software. I am completely comfortable with using the terminal ( and Vim & nano ), but i'd really rather not have to do 20 minutes of forum searching and 10 minutes of console commands just to install my graphics card drivers - which i still had to do for my Radeon HD 4750 on my desktop.

    I am still an open source user because i care about freedom ( as in speech ) and use Blender and Gimp on a nearly daily basis - under Windows. I constantly push for my company to open source their games and personally open source all of my projects. I look to some projects like Inkscape, Amarok, Blender as shining examples of fantastic open source software, and am disappointed that the biggest Linux distribution ( or any other's i've tried ) just don't have that level of polish.

  7. >Because Ubuntu is so big and a huge chunk of Linux software is developed for it first, i decided that it was the best place to go.
    error #1: following the mainstream. stick with windows then. or osx at least. trading quality for quantity? not to mention that your claim only demonstrate your lack of knowledge of where and how software gets to ubuntu. Though I can accept it. you don't seem a guy who will lose 20 minutes to find out what he is going to install on his computer.
    >and use Blender and Gimp on a nearly daily basis - under Windows.
    error #2: leaving yourself a place to escape? and going there daily? that's a way to learn something.

    p.s. I really wonder how come I read your blog following linux foundation feed ....