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linux softwareLinux is a highly developed, stable and advanced operating system – this, I will never question. It comes in every conceivable flavour – from server solutions that simply work (again, this cannot be argued with) to desktop releases with more software than anyone could possibly ever need.

So what’s the problem? Why, in the year 2011 is Linux still not ready for the desktop? It works – sure, but after a long time using Linux as a primary operating system I’m just about ready to buy a Macbook Pro and dual boot Windows. Read on to find out why I’m a sad penguin.


Enough, I’ve heard it all. “You might as well be using Windows XP if you’re going to use Ubuntu LOLZ!” – but this never used to be the case. I’ve toyed with Ubuntu Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot Is Out Now With New Default Programs [Linux] Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot Is Out Now With New Default Programs [Linux] It's here! With a multitude of user interface improvements and a few new default programs, Ubuntu 11.10 keeps the premiere Linux distro moving forward. Whether you're a long time Ubuntu user or a Windows/Mac user... Read More now for years, and honestly can’t remember the first release I encountered. My decision to install Ubuntu came with version 10.04, after trying out a live USB release and finally getting fed up of Windows.

linux software

I know that Ubuntu does not represent Linux as a whole, so why am I doting on it? Because it goes by the slogan “Linux for Human Beings” and is often referred to as the OS of choice for switchers. It’s never been the most attractive, streamlined or powerful of the many thousands of distributions out there, but for a bit of web, publishing and a brief foray into the world of Linux it generally worked, with great stability and few issues.

In my experience much has changed. Ubuntu 11.04 introduced a new interface – Unity Ubuntu 11.04 Unity - A Big Leap Forward For Linux Ubuntu 11.04 Unity - A Big Leap Forward For Linux It's here. The newest version of Ubuntu sports an entirely new user interface: Unity. It also includes a much-improved Software Center, alongside the usual updates for the thousands of free programs Ubuntu offers. Canonical decided... Read More – and I can’t stand it. Sure, I could turn it off Easily Install Gnome Shell In Ubuntu 11.10 & Newer [Linux] Easily Install Gnome Shell In Ubuntu 11.10 & Newer [Linux] Do you love Ubuntu, but prefer Gnome Shell to Unity? You're not alone, but you're also in luck. Ubuntu 11.10 makes it easy to install Gnome Shell. Not liking where Gnome was heading, the Ubuntu... Read More but most people won’t – do you have to turn off the default Windows or OS X interface for it to become usable? The two machines running Ubuntu in my household felt noticeably slower after the update, partly due to sluggish animations which lagged on both installations.

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Add to that the plethora of driver issues that appeared overnight with 11.04 – reduced wireless performance, graphical errors and the most annoying persistent sound sync problem and I’m done. Way to break a perfectly operable operating system. Which leads me on to…

The Many Distributions

I’m not arguing with the server side of things. If you want a solid, reliable server and you’re comfortable with command line access then do yourself a favour and build a Linux box. However – for the newcomer, the dabbler and the experienced-with-Windows user there’s simply too much to choose from.

linux software review

Some people complained when Microsoft announced multiple versions of Vista and 7, stating it would “confuse the consumer” – but we all know that’s rubbish as the manufacturer generally sells Home Premium or Professional for a not-so-painful OEM price, and if you really need Ultimate then you can always upgrade. The many possibilities that exist for those looking to install Linux can be off-putting and confusing.

Of course once you’ve listened to 101 suggestions, ruled out the ones you don’t like and finally installed your distribution of choice you’ve then got the small issue of…

Linux Software

Free open source The 7 Best Free Open Source Programs To Replace Commercial Windows Software The 7 Best Free Open Source Programs To Replace Commercial Windows Software In the past you were stuck with only Windows and its costly friends. Today there are many free open source and often cross-platform alternatives to choose from. In this article I have summarized the most... Read More software isn’t a bad thing, but sometimes it’s worth paying for a quality product. Take GIMP for example, which after experiencing it, you’re either going to love or hate. If you hate GIMP, be it the workflow, interface or just general shortcomings in comparison with Photoshop then you’ve not got much in the way of alternatives.

linux software review

GIMP is about as good as it gets on Linux when it comes to imaging software, and even compared to the Windows-only solution Paint.NET 8 Simple Free Photoshop Alternatives that are under 2 MB 8 Simple Free Photoshop Alternatives that are under 2 MB Read More it can feel outdated, messy and not particularly intuitive to the Adobe generation. There’s no Adobe line-up for Linux despite the community’s many pleas (Flash support is pretty horrendous at times too).

If you’re a musician used to Traktor, Cubase, Reason, FLStudio (I could go on) or even Garage Band then you’re out of luck there too. There are a few decent solutions, but there’s a reason most music is produced on a Mac or Windows machine.

linux software review

Serious video editing is a no-go too. Despite the many capable solutions out there that are built for Linux, there’s still nothing that compares to industry standards like Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premier. Of course these are expensive software suites I’m mentioning, but they’re also widely used and bought for a reason. Linux software simply can’t compare when it comes to this level of professional software, and it also can’t compare when it comes to…


Things have got better when it comes to gaming on Linux over the last few years, but “better” should not necessarily be confused with “good”.  Valve’s distribution service Steam A Selection Of The Best Free-To-Play Steam Games A Selection Of The Best Free-To-Play Steam Games Content delivery service Steam is a real money-spinner for Valve, prompting publishers like EA to shy away from it in pursuit of their own system. That doesn’t mean there aren’t a couple of free gems... Read More has had a major impact on PC gaming, playing a pivotal role in delivering everything from small indie games to full price new ones. The bad news is that it’s probably never heading to Linux (and even if it did, most games would probably not see the journey through).

linux software

There are lots of free games on Linux, but if you’re into your hardware-testing first person shooters or any of the latest releases then you’re going to need Windows. Aside from the odd free-to-play title, very little in the way of recent releases make it to Linux.

Dual-booting is always an option, but if you’re into your games in a big way you probably won’t be bothered with that.


Linux is not a write-off, but as a primary operating system it’s got some serious problems. Not all of these can necessarily be fixed either, though that’s not to say the humble penguin doesn’t have a place where it can be useful.

If you’re lucky enough to find a distribution you love, don’t play games and couldn’t care less about Adobe’s Creative Suite or a powerful video editor then that’s awesome. And those old PCs or netbooks without a lot of grunt might just get a new lease of life with Linux. Good luck!

What do you think about Linux? Do you agree that Linux is not good? Disagree? Have a say in the comments, below.

  1. graybop
    October 23, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    There are some real nice looking distros with great UI functionality. The rest is going to be based on what you want to do day in / day out. For emailing, document creation and surfing the web Linux is good enough (though they will probably need to open the Terminal to get MS Fonts) using bundled or downloadable free software or a cloud solution. However that in itself may not be as straightforward as some think, Firefox and Chromium for example may not play Netflix or Amazon Prime video without some researching and fixing. The average user really just wants to Netflix and Chill.

    The rest, as per the article is spot on. Musicians, Designers, Gamers and Photographers will not thrive on Linux.

  2. Fg
    October 13, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    This is the biggest bunch of whiny lieing assholes I have ever stumbled onto . The title of this Url should read (windows Fanboys are US ). If you want to use windows then use it . I have 22 years with Linux and have never had a issue except with dickless windows fanboys who wasn't advanced enough to use software . Stick to your daddy's OS where everything is spoon fed too you and thinks for you while they farm every action you take behind your back for profit .
    How much are most of you dickless little girls getting paid ??? microsoft must be writing checks .

  3. Robert
    September 4, 2016 at 2:16 am

    I've pretty much thrown in the towel on Linux as well. I've distro hopped from between Mint, Debian, Manjaro, and Arch. Ultimately, the biggest problem for me with Linux is sketchy support for GPU video (e.g. Intel Quick Sync). Sure, there are ways to use VAAPI with ffmpeg and gstreamer to enable GPU video encoding/decoding, but they all lack the simplicity and customization of Intel Quick Sync (which is unavailable in Linux). With "another" operating system, my laptop streams HD flash video with 30% processor utilization. With Linux, the best I could ever get CPU utilization down to with the same HD flash video (on the same laptop) was around 90%.

  4. daniyal141
    August 27, 2016 at 9:13 am

    Sure, Paint.NET is Windows-only, but there's Pinta, which looks like a clone of it.

    • Bruce Gomez
      September 13, 2016 at 2:10 am

      The operative words being "Looks like a clone of" Linux developers have been trying to imitate the look of Windows and Mac since the early 1990s. Pinta is similar in function to Windows Paint but the interface and usage is clumsy, limited and unfriendly. Paint.NET is a free app for the Windows OS's but has no reasonable substitute. Looking good and working gwell are two different things.

  5. mike
    June 26, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    Linux is pain. I hate how I have to tinker and find a work around for just about everything. The truth is that there just isn't enough demand for anyone to create high quality software for it. The open source nerd work arounds are just a pain. I hate how whenever I need to do some that it is always add this, add that, then for all my work I get a crappy 1995 open source app.

    Then I get to use WINE and try to get a windows software to work in it-- More pain

    Then you hog your resources with vbox and you finally get something that works but still clunky.

    Linux is for nerds who like to waste a lot of time doing ish the hardware.

    Don't give me any typical fanboy garbage either because I've been playing around wit Linux for around 15 years.

    Sometimes you just want stuff that works.

    • Dexda
      August 7, 2016 at 11:09 am

      Couldn't have said it better myself.

      I've recently installed Ubuntu as a dual boot. Took me all of 12 hours to get sick of it and remove it again.

      I have issues with Microsoft. Outright despise Apple and their sh*t. Yet Linux still couldn't win me over.

      The SECOND I had to open up Terminal and type sudo - {crap} {garbage} {blah} I knew I had been sold a lie.

      My Wifi refused to work. Many of the programs I use on a day to day basis didn't have Linux support. Just no.

      All I wanted to do was do some every day stuff out of the umbrella of Microsoft for a change and I couldn't even stand to do that.

  6. MakingNametoComment
    June 22, 2016 at 6:38 pm

    Actually the whole complaint about Gimp is complete bullshit. I use it for everything and it's 100x better than Photoshop for pixel graphics (and you don't have to know how to script like the other guy said in a previous post).

    I use Gimp all the time. i have WAY more flexibility, WAY more control, and the results are insanely good. You won't find a lot of the bling and bloat that comes with Photoshop and the learning curve is steep because people have been using Windows their whole life. Furthermore Gimp is a light weight program and it's super stable compared to Photo Slop.

    There's only 2 things Linux can't do:

    1. Play just released AAA, 3D, 4k Resolution Videogames. (But big developers are making games for Linux now and more will adopt in future)

    2. Go on websites that rely on "Proprietary Windows Software" and the only reason they don't work is either (A) they're trying to install a bunch of executables you probably should avoid anyway" or (B) their software is programmed to be incompatible with Linux for licensing reasons. Seriously.

    Your whole post is a bunch of ill-conceived bitching about shit you don't even understand because you think Linux is icky and bad. You're not exactly "wrong" but you certainly aren't in a position to be authoritatively speaking about Linux since you obviously don't understand this stuff even a little.

    • Bob
      August 7, 2016 at 8:42 pm

      The guy's just stating this opinion. You don't like it, fine, but I agree with him fully. He even said that linux is *not* a write-off, but I suppose for him its not good enough.

      I tried Gimp and didn't like it, but only because I new Photoshop quite well. Its quite hard to try to know a different piece of software that's supposed to do everything that you used to be using - but everything's in a different place.

      You sound like a Linux fan-boy that can't seem to accept that some people don't like it.

      • ankit
        October 17, 2016 at 12:57 pm

        Probably, instead of a linux fan-boy who doesnt accept that some peope dont like him, you should have said linux fan boy who is fed up of lies made up by noobs who say that GIMP is crap simply because they cannot accept to work on it for long enough to see its potential and claim perhaps without any experience that photoshop is better. There is a difference between not liking and not having the potential. And the tendency of Windows lazy fanboys to scream out and downplay the potential of LINUX is as irritating as that of LINUX users calling Windows crap.

    • William
      September 15, 2016 at 9:17 pm

      I have plenty of experience with linux and agree 100% with this article. He stated his opinions (that all happen to be true) and you are actually the posting the "ill conceived bitching".

      First off, the promise of more AAA game developers adopting Linux is a line of bullshit that's been around for so many years it is not even worth mentioning. It is just not worth their time in most cases. Gamers that don't want to be limited to a tiny percentage of game releases will never be interested.

      Second, just because some part of a website does not work on Linux does not mean they purposely sabotaged it, its more likely they feel its not worth the time to make it work, and if making it work would cost them money, its probably is not. And it jumping to the "They're trying to install a bunch of executables you probably should avoid anyway" just shows you fanatical fanboy mentality. Just admit you hat microsoft, its OK, nobody will judge you for that, a lot of people do.

      Photo shop<<<<<<<<Gimp.... Nothing to even discus here about that.
      well except your comment about the learning curve being steep is due to people being used to windows. That's funny, since all that does is substantiate that there is an issue with Gimp and possibly Linux as a whole.

      This part of your whole little rant was stupid.

      "Your whole post is a bunch of ill-conceived bitching about shit you don't even understand because you think Linux is icky and bad. You're not exactly "wrong" but you certainly aren't in a position to be authoritatively speaking about Linux since you obviously don't understand this stuff even a little."

      He and others say this stuff because they do understand Linux and it many, many drawbacks without the blind devotion some people have. You say he is just bitching because he doesn't understand and that he thinks Linux is icky and bad. Then say he isn't exactly wrong, but that he shouldn't talk about it because he doesnt know shit.

      Linux will NEVER be even close to a mainstream OS, ever, that's just fact. Get over it and don't jump down peoples throats anytime they say something negative about your precious OS.

  7. Andy
    April 10, 2016 at 7:14 am

    A lot depends on your hardware and what you are doing with the computer. I have one win 7 machine that has a pro sound card for recording that won't work on linux or windows 10. I have another for gaming in stereoscopic - which will only work in windows. I now have a laptop on linux mint which is way more stable than it would be on windows. My windows 10 machine locks up on a regular basis, spies on me, and you're never really sure what's getting installed in the background. If you think linux is unstable you haven't tried windows 10 and nvidia drivers....

  8. Jorg
    March 9, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    LOL, hilarious. I have been using Linux (and other Unices) for about 15 years now, and all the shortcomings you mention are generally fixable through educating oneself about the system and learning a bit of the underlying Unix philosophy and shell-scripting.

    For example, while GIMP may lack some of the more fancy Photoshop filters, I can write most of them in a variety of languages for myself, or find versions of such scripts on the interwebz.

    Musically, there is nothing as flashy and intuitive as many of the Mac/Windows programs, but there is a plethora of tools that will give you the desired result--again, the problem is that Linux in general is based on small utilities that do one thing and not on huge monolithic applications. By stringing a series of such utilities, you can do pretty much anything.

    Complaints about stability leave me flabbergasted, and of course, as a server, Linux is far better than the best Windows products (I work with both, and find Windows incredibly annoying, buggy and generally non-configurable in comparison).

    And if you are doing actual basic science, Windows is left in the dust: many of the applications for, say, astronomy and astrophysics simply do not exist in the Microsoft world--and there is no way to run them, and compiling them from source is several thousand headaches. On the other hand, I can run plenty of Windows applications on Linux with Wine--and, according to benchmarks, many of them actually run FASTER on Linux than Windows.

    So I completely disagree, and have plenty of satisfied people in my wake whom I've set up with perfectly functioning SuSE/Mint laptops. :)

    • Crek
      March 20, 2016 at 2:04 am

      linux sucks

    • Mark
      March 24, 2016 at 9:42 pm

      "while GIMP may lack some of the more fancy Photoshop filters, I can write most of them in a variety of languages for myself" Are you insane? Do you really think that people want to start writing their own plugins before a piece of software becomes usable?

      • Nik
        April 3, 2016 at 5:32 pm

        @mark I was considering the same. While I do use Linux, it's mostly because I don't play games any longer and I need it for future network work, not because I find it superior to Windows in any way...

        Windows 7 is by far one of the best OS out there when it comes to versatility.

  9. Sam
    February 10, 2016 at 12:55 am

    I started out with Ubuntu Linux also, and immediately found it to be very sluggish and slow to respond, with an archaic, ill-designed user interface. Plus, it crashed my computer over and over, which should not have happened, because my laptop has plenty of computing power. When after a short and deeply disappointing experience, I gave up on Ubuntu and then installed Linux Mint, everything immediately worked perfectly, and has ever since. In fact, every time there's a new upgrade to the Mint OS, it just gets more and more stable and streamlined. I still use Linux Mint, but only on my desktop now, and on my primary laptop, I've have spent time with (in order of adoption) Antergos, Manjaro, Uberstudent, and now settling on Sabayon Linux, the most mature distribution I've yet encountered. Every one of these Linux distributions (with the exception of Ubuntu) has been a very good experience, and has added to my knowledge and ability to use Linux effectively. I still use Windows 10 on a separate laptop (as well as a small tablet), as I basically have to have it for software I'll be running as part of the CIS degree I'm pursuing. But though I use it every day, the Windows experience never comes close to Linux. To say the least, I'll be looking forward to my Linux courses.

    • Peter Ridgers
      September 24, 2016 at 10:57 am

      A major advantage claimed of Linux is that it works with very old hardware. BUT you are still advised to keep the OS up to date. As a result it will eventually become unstable, and slow, and valuable features will be dropped with no warning never to be seen again.

      Stability in an operating system that does nothing useful is not valuable.

      An operating system that can do anything but requires expert reconfiguration at every upgrade is not useful.

      All Linux distros suffer from both problems to some degree.

      It is not safe to think "all I need is web browsing, email and a bit of word processing and printing - Linux can do that without problems". Eventually a small feature you have come to rely on will bite you in the arse (example: mint 17.3 - pdf forms work with no problems and nautilus-sendto works a dream with evince. Mint 18 - problems, problems, problems....).

  10. anonymouss
    January 6, 2016 at 3:25 am

    I just installed it for 1 month and I don't like it. First of all the font in mozilla/chrome is hard for read.

    I need much programs and most of them are not written (or look as in 1950).

    Linux is faster than Windows but needs improvement visually .

    I will use W10 for 3 months and get back to win7 .

    • Daniel Stonebuilt
      April 18, 2016 at 1:35 am

      It's true haha..

  11. Nk
    December 20, 2015 at 2:23 am

    Bad as a primary OS? And what about windows then? Yes, linux isn't very good, but windows is, unfortunately, much worse. It simply can't do what i need (at least such speed and automatisation, simple updates, etc). So Arch Linux is the only option for me.

    BTW, there is Steam on Linux — and Valve encourages users and developers move to Ubuntu (on the steam download page at least). It also developed SteamOS which is derived from Debian. Valve has huge plans on linux.

  12. Cody Wasser
    October 8, 2015 at 5:37 am

    I'm a 12 year veteran linux user... and its still fucking buggy as F***!

    I absolutely can not use it as a primary OS; the bugs and stability issues, not to mention you have to fuck around with it for hours JUST to get some usability out of it!

    As a server OS, it is decent; windows is much better... but licenses are retardedly expensive.

    However, with the recent direction that windows has been going; i worry about the stability of windows operating systems in regards to updates.

    Linux however never really needs to be updated as it is lacking so many features that it becomes secure enough as-is.

  13. Chriss RE
    September 5, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    Great Article and still hold true .Reading this years later . I have linux on my laptop but that just too keep up. Linux is a fun hobby OS you can dig aroud.

    If your causal user that just want's to see movies , listen to music or do office work . Yeah you can do that no problem.

    People often said to me . Well instal Photoshop using Wine . Yes I can also instal many software on WINE than the problem is they rarly work like they should and any update can end up braking the instaled software. What I expierienced with Photoshop. After Update just stoped working

    • Michael Tunnell
      September 5, 2015 at 5:57 pm

      "still hold true" actually no most of this is all invalid now. It was true in 2011 when this was written but the content of this article is now almost completely invalid.

      Photoshop in WINE is not the only option available to users. I am currently running Photoshop in a Windows Virtual Machine which allows full support and no issues with update breaking or anything like that.

      Whenever I mention the Virtual Machine option a lot of the time I get the reply, "Why not just run Windows then?". The reason is because Windows is a malware cesspool and with the Virtual Machine option I can harden Windows into a secured fortress where as using it as the main system that is just impossible.

      Also using an operating system for one application just doesn't make sense to me, every application (other than gaming or other high intensity stuff like 4K Video Editing) can be ran pretty much flawlessly in a Windows Virtual Machine while having a Linux distro as the host OS.

  14. Maurizio Mezzatesta
    August 17, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    It has now gotten to the point that even with the limited software/games, I'm going to make the final complete jump and abandon MS. There are enough audio apps (bitwig, amazing!) and well over 1000+ games on steam.

    I'm sure I'll survive.

  15. Lowell Sochia
    August 7, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    Hi, I just want to add my 2 cents. I am a computer programmer for a financial institution and utilize Linux for a multitude of purposes.

    I wear many hats at my institution. I use it as my daily driver for programming/web development, I use Komodo IDE, Google web designer for HTML5, I also utilize Lightworks video editor which is quite a powerful video editor, and GIMP for graphics. Gimp can be tweaked to look and act exactly like Adobe Photoshop it has all the same features and a bit more capabilities that I find useful.

    With all that said, I may be a little more advanced than the average home user when it comes to use of a linux system, but nowadays if you choose the right distribution you should not have much hardware/driver problems (i use Linux Mint).

    I have installed Linux Mint for my dad who is in his 70's and he is computer challenged. He is able to utilize the system with no problems.

  16. Michael Mason
    July 6, 2015 at 8:29 am

    You've awakened the beast.

    I've used Linux off and on since red hat came on floppies. It's great for servers and programming.

    BUT you can do all everything in Windows or OSX you can do in Linux, and then some.

    It's great if you like open source, or free software. It's not great if you like a system being held together by hacks that work in one distro but not another.

    It's great if you like being different. It's not great if you want to share a file with a co-worker and expect them to be able to open it without errors.

    It's 2015 and you still have to manually configure a second internal hd to mount correctly, with the correct permissions for the only admin account on the computer.

    Sure, there are distros specifically for making music or other media, but try to install that software on your everyday environment, and you're most likely out of luck.

    I want the choice of a distro with the ability to install working software to do what I want to do. I don't want the choice of having to fix bugs while I'm trying to do work.

    Until then, the only choice is Windows or OSX.

  17. Branko Dodig
    May 27, 2015 at 11:44 am

    The article is very true. I would like to add something: Linux is unlikely to be ever have commonplace driver + professional software support. The reason for that is very simple, and doesn't have all that much to do with windows monopoly. It's the fact that there is a lack of standardization and of backwards compatibility. Until this changes, nothing will really change. Dozens (hundreds) of distributions and different package managers, and the entire diversity ensures you cannot develop for linux and expect that you can just install your software on every linux box. If you're making embedded or grid-based software it's fine, but if you want to make software for the end user it's not fine. If you could write commercial software for Linux which will certainly install and work in a simple way on every major distribution, and be sure it will work in ten years time, it would be an interesting prospect. However, you can't expect either; which is why despite liking some aspects of Linux, I do not see it taking over any meaningful market share. On the upside it's relatively safe from viruses, just because this and this distribution is so incompatible with everything else that nobody bothers to :) My personal computers all have dual boot, but for getting things done, 99% of the time I have Windows booted up.

  18. Kurt Hectic
    April 30, 2015 at 7:31 am

    Just wanna start by saying anyone who disrespected you with uncivilized name calling and such for you simply expressing a non-offensive opinion even if it could be wrong, lost their right to be heard respectfully, and are as worthy here as the feces the birds dropped on the tree outside my place today.

    Moving on.

    Great article, the comments of which made me laugh to no end. It was clear readers had no empathy for the possibility of opinions other than their own what so ever, and kept not getting it by saying things like "a couple of searches would find you info easily, or the documentation is more efficient). Hahaha. My grandma and mother would never in a million years go through that to figure out a computer. They'd just leave it and buy a Mac.

    It's funny some overly proud students in my Comp Sci college days in 1998 were saying windows is over Linux will take over soon. 17 years later. Still not even close to the user-friendliness of either Windows or Mac. Pathetic. Still, I prefer Linux desktop for programming work over Windows, and prefer Mac over both.

    As some mentioned, the best option is for a Linux guru to configure a machine for a noob and let them take over from then on. That way, they get the guru to figure out the best distro for them, and install all the right programs for handling MP3 and such.

    Cheers... An oldie but certainly a goodie

  19. Hate Linux
    April 3, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    Well, four years later linux is still dead. Despite all the Windows 8 AND 8.1 stufupps.

    When I plug in the USB stick and it gives me "Error mounting ..." message I insert the Windows 8.1 disk and hit re-format. We have desktops for 20 years and linux 'gurus' still couldn't figure how to mount a USB stick automatically on insertion.
    Then they want me to type in some convoluted rubbish into the console ... as I said, I insert the Windows disk.

    "... Linux is primarily for people who want to learn..."
    No. There is no point learning it because it is useless. It is DEAD knowledge. Might as well learn the Afghan phone-book.
    Linux is a toy. Like the old Ford, we used to take off the cylinder head, cleaned the carburetor then put it back together. We NEVER used it to GO somewhere. Around the block perhaps for a 'test-run'.
    Same with linux. They fiddle with it, recompile and see if it worked. If it did, they have a stiffy. Also they have a stiffy when they can talk gobbledygook on a party and everybody listens to them.
    That is good but still, linux wasn't meant to be used.
    If one wants to GET somewhere, one gets Microsoft Windows.

    • Spam Hater
      April 11, 2015 at 4:49 am

      You, sir are an idiot. If Linux is such a toy, explain why it's the go-to choice of NASA, Wall Street, and MOST of the world's most power supercomputers? How about Google, and Facebook, and most of the Fortune 500? All of 'em use Linux and Unix (as well as Windows and MacOS). See, the thing is that these days, every operating system has plusses and minuses, but they ALL do basically the same shit in the end. You use each one for the things it does best, or if your needs aren't too complex, then you use the one that suits YOUR personal preference and need. As to plugging in a USB drive, I plug in anything from a FAT32 thumb drive on up to a multi-terabyte NTFS drive and every Linux machine I have straight up automounts it without issue. Same thing on the Mac machines at work. Half the USB drives I have ASK FOR A DRIVER CD when plugged into ANY Windows machine. Go figure...

      • Yarg Yurg
        November 25, 2015 at 6:54 am

        I've never had USB problems with either gnu/linux or windows (unless it's an unrecognized format) and have never been asked to install a driver CD for a basic stick.

        However, spam hater is correct. Linux runs the internet. The reason for this is that big companies invest heavily in the linux kernel/network stack so their servers run well. Desktop on the other hand does absolutely remain a total mess. And I'm guessing that's what Hate Linux is referring to. Desktop linux remains a curiosity for a few and an actual usable primary desktop for even fewer (sorry, the <1% desktop share remains just as true when linux began as it does decades later)

      • Mark
        March 24, 2016 at 9:56 pm

        Unless you happen to be running Windows 95 on a lot of machines for some unfathomable reason, you are clearly lying about being asked for a driver CD when plugging in USB drives. Anything from 1GB pen drives to 3TB external hard drives work without any such nonsense on Windows 7/8/10. I use both Linux and Windows so I'm not a 'hater' but I do hate liars.

  20. hp
    March 21, 2015 at 5:13 am

    Well, I've been using GNU/Linux based OSes exclusively on all my machines (home and office) since 2004. Not even once had I the urge to go back to windows. Why? There's barely any maintenance needed in linux world. You install it, set it up, load your data, and... you are done playing bob-builder. Windows? Oy. Maintenance never ends. I see people struggling with trivial problems on windows as they were life-or-death issues. Even nowadays in win7 and win8. Did I update my antivirus? Oh, there was a blackout and now my pc doesn't send documents to my printer. Is Microsoft looking over my shoulder?

    • Joseph Salesi
      June 24, 2015 at 5:09 pm

      The reason there's little maintenance is because it's not widely used as a desktop computer. If you had to support the amount of applications and users that are on Windows/Mac, you'd see a big changes in the need of support.

      • Nk
        December 20, 2015 at 2:31 am

        Are you talking about system administration? Have you heard of Chef, Puppet, Ansible? (these are complete systems for mass deployment and orchestration) Guess why they don't work on windows. (Windows is a little bit… unusable)

        When you administrate a linux machine, it either updates automatically (and, yes, no reboots needed), or you manually trigger an update — ONCE for all programs. What about windows? Manually updating everything is so annoying (and you also need to install drivers)…

    • Mark
      March 24, 2016 at 10:00 pm

      I wish that were true. There's always some irritating bug to fix on the Linux distros I've used. If it's not the video drivers suddenly stopping working, it's throwing a fit because the BIOS clock isn't in GMT or breaking completely and refusing to boot into anything but emergency mode because of a simple program update.

  21. anon
    March 18, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    Tim Brookes: Interesting write-up. Thanks.

  22. Boo
    March 10, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    It's true that linux lacks a great video editing app and a program as good as photoshop. I wish the WINE project would pay more attention to making it easier to get Photoshop installed and also Adobe premiere.
    With a little tweaking I am able to get photoshop working fine but have never managed to get Adobe premiere running. To my surprise though I was able to get Adobe AfterEffects, both 6.5 and CS3 running fine under wine. So I am quite happy now, As I have Sony Vegas working fine, Photoshop and After effects.

  23. James
    March 10, 2015 at 2:30 am

    I would agree. Linux is not for the average PC user. Most folks want things to work right out of the box. Linux does not operate that way. That said, we do have it on three machines here at home but a fairly new version of windows is always available. For important task, It is always Windows or OS . Reason being, We need it to work now, not after we check for compatibility issues or fine tune some part of the system. The many distributions do have their place and for someone who wants to tinker it can be a fun learning experience.

  24. CorpseBrigade
    February 6, 2015 at 10:39 am

    Yeah, this article is useless. Steam has SteamOS which plays games, and value is pushing devs to code for both platforms, currently over 100 games on linux.... MAJOR titles, not filled with bullshit indie games.

    And as for many 'distros'.. it's many desktops... don't be a stupid windows user and suggest that all the desktops that you can customize is just way too much. This article is shit and shouldn't be taken seriously.

    Having said that.. I'm sure you don't care, and you're enjoying your console.

    • Nk
      December 20, 2015 at 2:33 am

      Over 100 games? Are you kidding? There are many thousands!
      Yeah, Valve encourages the devs to move to linux

      The article is shit

  25. Debdut Karmakar
    February 2, 2015 at 5:26 am

    Please stop writing these bullshit articles. I guess you do not have anything other than Photoshop to really point, though it is a crappy software and it is too slow. Also for music productions you have music specific distros like MUSIX or DYNEBOLIC for video productions. And yeah most of the games run via wine. So there is no point in your article. Know before you write or people will laugh on you.

  26. yo momma
    January 1, 2015 at 10:05 am

    Bunch of oligophrenics who can't RTFM, go back to your 8.1 and play farmville on facebook.

  27. Alan Hill
    December 15, 2014 at 4:44 am

    Every time you say it just works, you need to qualify. Linux plays mp3's, So chuck 50,000 tracks at it and let me know how you go. Every player I have tried is not up to scratch. How much time does the average user need to master Gimp?
    OK if you are retired, otherwise you may find you will give up because you do not have the time and go straight back to Windows. Why because it is easier. So play with Linux but when you want to do some stuff today you will have to use windows. Most people who use Linux do not use their computers to do everything. Windows users can do it all. Microsoft is everywhere for a reason.
    I have installed Linux Mint, so far it is OK but, there is always a but. Software is not up to par.
    Not to mention Games. I said NOT to mention games. Why are they not available. Not enough users, nowhere near enough users. Makes you feel special doesn't it. Or out on a limb maybe. Have a great day.

  28. youreviltwins
    December 13, 2014 at 11:46 pm

    It's true, Linux cannot yet meet some common needs. Still waiting for a capable: firewall, video editor, manual-scan antivirus (with heuristics), vector+bitmap photo editor. It would be nice to see a distro released under a better open-source license, and for more manufacturers to create easy to install Linux drivers for their products. However Microsoft seems to be intent on destroying Windows, and OSX is only Macs, so the play field is slowly evening out.

  29. Stoyan Deckoff
    May 10, 2012 at 6:21 am

    "In my experience much has changed. Ubuntu 11.04 introduced a new interface – Unity – and I can’t stand it. Sure, I could turn it off but most people won’t – do you have to turn off the default Windows or OS X interface for it to become usable? The two machines running Ubuntu in my household felt noticeably slower after the update, partly due to sluggish animations which lagged on both installations."

    I cant stand win7 interface, and CANT replace or turn it off, that is the difference...

  30. Agent Smith
    April 25, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Comparing the produce of a software giant (countless paid hours and funds for public exposure) to a non-profit community (unpaid part-time hours) isn't exactly the fairest of match ups. The Linux of today is a popular platform for web servers and perceptive anarchists, but it's potential is greater. If open-source prevailed it could erase a decent portion of the digital economy of tomorrow - something Apple, MS + invested interests (media) are trying hard to preserve and exploit. At the end of the day, it's just business... and money talks. One day there may just be enough like-minded developers & users out there to embrace the idea of open-source and fulfil it's potential. Until then I feel 'Linux for desktop' should still be respected for what it is - the early phases of a liberal dream. You could also say it's disruptive to the mechanism that has paved the way towards the technologically advanced society most of us have come to cherish. No ying without yang...

  31. George Koskeridis
    January 6, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    I don't agree with you. Linux open-source software has the same and even better power than commercial software. People spent more hours coding something; not because they are paid to do it but because they love it and thus enjoy it more.
    Just because it doesn't fit you and you don't like change don't criticize oss just like it doesn't exist. You might have gotten used in using Windows, but the fact remains that if all of us have gotten used in Linux first then none of these negative blogs would have existed.
    I used to work with Windows for as long as i can remember; that means i also used commercial software. Alas a change happened in my life where i had to change to Linux and it literally opened my eyes.
    It has exactly the same (and better for some) power as Windows. I love it because it's hyper-customizable and it looks like its software are the easiest to use.
    Oh and i use it professionally. That means that i don't have to pay Microsoft, i do my work just fine and easier with Linux and i get paid too.

    Good luck on giving 300$ on Operating systems (even more with the crappy OSX)

    • Eric
      April 17, 2012 at 2:37 pm

      I can live with the games not being 100% as good as the selection/quality of games on Windows.

      I prefer Linux as a platform for the functionality and customization opportunities it offers.

      Unfortunately Linux falls short on two fairly large points.

      Adobe Creative Suite and Microsoft Office and never mind what anybody says OpenOffice and Gimp just is not as good.

  32. !#lover
    January 5, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    ever heard of AV Linux? as for video editing KDENLive is just fine. Recent GIMP is decent too. gaming in linux is just fine. How about viruses, antiviruses eating huge memory & processor? Windows is result of laziness & ignorence just like this article 

    • Tim Brookes
      January 12, 2012 at 12:07 am

      Kdenlive - not only does it lack features (I could live with this) but despite being the most stable video editor on the platform it's also definitely going to crash whenever you use it. Really.

      GIMP - not a patch on Photoshop still, but fair point GIMP might do for some people. It's useless to those who shoot in RAW though, so you'd need some extra software if you were a photographer.

      Viruses/Anti-virius - Yep, well-pointed out - the lack of a requirement for a virus scanner in Linux is a real plus point, and I'm afraid virus scanners are here to stay on Windows (until the next big overhaul I guess). Can I also point out that Mac OS X has very little in the way of virus threats too, and that's a considerably different beast to your common Linux distro. 

      Laziness & Ignorance - statements like "gaming in linux is just fine" show more of this than the article, which is based on personal experience with little or nothing to gain from "siding" with any OS. It's just a chinwag about Linux and its ever-present drawbacks!

  33. Jeff Fabish
    January 4, 2012 at 1:41 am

    Since we're doing heated debates, I suggest the next article to be OpenGL vs Directx (make sure it's as or more biased as this one!).

  34. happy penguin
    January 4, 2012 at 1:27 am

    The age old Linux v the world debate - its free, its solid, it caters for all, it rocks....but hey if you need a Mac Fix or a number 8 in your day...go out there and play....however you will return...; 0)

  35. Usmankhan
    December 19, 2011 at 2:40 am

    Windows may be crap
    But linux is a bigger better crap

    • Usmankhan
      December 19, 2011 at 2:42 am

      and i am saying it after wasting my 2 month with this S****ty crap.

    • Jeff Fabish
      December 19, 2011 at 3:14 am

      If you're a noob to any operating system, you're going to think it's crap.

      • James Bruce
        December 19, 2011 at 11:16 am

        For the record, that doesnt apply to OSX. Never thought that was crap, even during my n00b stages… ;)

  36. Matt
    December 14, 2011 at 12:12 am

    You're basically complaining about the obvious and unavoidable shortcomings of being a free and open-sourced system as compared to being showered in money as a business distributed system.  Thanks for stating the obvious!  Next.

  37. Milan
    December 5, 2011 at 2:34 am

    yeey another who says unity sucks. I think that people who say that aren't opening there eyes for changes. So you're to lazy to figure out how things really work and how nice they are. It is true Linux distro's are not the best thing that ever happend to a computer but if I have a choice between something that sucks(linux) and something that sucks and I must pay for(windows). I know the anwser. There is allways Apple products but as student I won't see that kind of money for the coming years :P

  38. D. Torvalds
    December 4, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    Linux is completely customizable. If you say you can do more on Windows, you are a liar. Windows is only big because it comes preinstalled, and people love the way Mac looks. If they used Linux enough to learn something, they would see how much better it is. You can't hack on windows like you can on Linux. And Ubuntu BLOWS. Unity desktop is a POS. Try something that uses KDE. And if you're upset with the GIMP's layout, try GIMPshop. It's GIMP made to look like Photoshop. Linux is much more secure and the community is the tops. Unlike windows. You don't like something in windows? Oh well. Not their problem. I don't think you're even qualified to write this if all you've used is Ubuntu. Try something else-- and I mean really TRY it-- and then write another article. You know why no one has to turn off the Windows or Mac UI for it to be usable? THEY HAD NO CHOICE BUT TO DEAL WITH IT. You're not used to the choices Linux gives. If you're too lazy to replace the DE, get another distro. I am saddened to see such a biased article on one of my favorite sites. Try again. Try a different distro. Replace the DE. But for God's sake, don't write such a biased article again.

    • James Bruce
      December 5, 2011 at 1:04 am

      Steady on old chap. Any relation to Linus, Mr Torvalds?

      I'm saddened to see that some people still think an operating system should be something requiring a college degree. If I have to spend a year adjusting to something, experimenting with different distros and UIs, until I find something even vaguely useable.. it's a failure, sorry. 

      You seem to also have silly preconceived ideas about why peopole choose OSX. It certainly isn't just because it's pretty. In fact, I've seen hundreds of awesome linux screenshots of incredible desktops, and then I realise they're all custom programmed and took hours to get set up, and when I try to do the same, it's fails miserably. … People choose OSX because it functions as intuitively as possible, hiding a lot of the technical details and simplifying the interface to what is needed to ge the task done. It's called being productive. While you're sitting there kitting out your KDE desktop, OSX users have already done the days email, made a nice photo album, edited that video into something awesome to show the family at christmas, made some cool cards, and been wowwed at every step of the way. That's what a computer should be. 

      Anyway, I may heed your suggestion when I have some time. I'll download some KDE based, try to do all my daily work on it for a week, and give an honest-to-god report. I'll try not to biassed, but that works both ways. If I need to keep checking stuff online just to figure out something that should be simple, then I'm not going to sugarcoat anything. Although I'm pretty sure you'll just say that a week isn't long enough, and that I would need more time to adjust. I have better things to do though. Like editing that movie on my Mac. 

      • Rory J S Patton
        December 5, 2011 at 1:23 am

        I have now installed several versions of Ubuntu and they've all worked without any tweaking apart from downloading drivers for VLC. I just turn on my laptop and do whatever I need. I am sure Macs are great, they are also expensive and unnecessary for anyone who is not a professional requiring their graphics capabilities, for the rest of us any box running Linux will handle our word and image processing needs. I still wish I could have afforded an Amiga 800 back in the day, if it was good enough for B5 it would have still been meeting my needs now - it's tough not having lots of cash, thank goodness for Linux, its free!

    • Sam Brockman
      February 10, 2012 at 3:05 am

      I started out with Red Hat Linux back in '99 when my dad gave me a computer as a present for my 9th birthday. I then switched to Fedora and in 2009 I tried Ubuntu for the first time. For the longest time I dual booted both Fedora and Ubuntu, but  by mid 2010 I saw myself only using Ubuntu. I like Unity and I think that Ubuntu is a lot easier to use than any other OS out there. This is just my opinion of course, but coming from a lifelong user of GNU/Linux I prefer Ubuntu. Sure I've tried hundreds of other distros, but Fedora or Ubuntu are the only two Distros that I have seen acceptable enough to run on my personal computer for more than a day. People are entitled to their own opinions, if the author wants to pay out the nose for shot software then let him spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars a year for that crap. I spend my money on Hardware and that is how it will always be for me personally until I find a compelling reason to do so otherwise. To each their own I suppose. 

    • youreviltwins
      December 13, 2014 at 11:54 pm

      "You know why no one has to turn off the Windows or Mac UI for it to be usable? THEY HAD NO CHOICE BUT TO DEAL WITH IT. "

      There are alternative 3rd party shells for Windows, and even 3rd party software to edit the default Explorer shell to look how you choose.

      OSX is a Unix operating system, many applications including your suggested KDE have been ported to OSX.

  39. Cavil
    November 25, 2011 at 8:13 am

    OK so basically this article can be summed up as:
    1) Unity sucks
    2) Windows Software doesn't work on Linux.

    I agree that Unity sucks, but it's pretty easy to swtich to KDE, XFCE, or another distro like Mint.

    As for the lack of autocad/flash/AAA video games on linux, This is due to the overwhelming monopoly windows has on the market. programs and games will be ported to linux in time once it becomes more well known.

  40. Xpwiz
    November 23, 2011 at 9:30 am

    You have remember, even Windows screws things up. Remember Vista?
    Honestly, I'd be surprised if you could go back to using Mac or Windows after Linux... I had to use win7 earlier today, of which the whole time I couldn't wait to get back to my Ubuntu setup!Also as others have pointed out, your points are valid, but all of your negatives points would only apply to someone who's pretty well versed in computers. So they would have no problem running a VM, or dual booting.In regards to Unity, I dislike it. But it's also more appealing to new users. It looks easy and funky, which in the long run should help Ubuntu take a larger market share of 'standard' users.

  41. Rory J S Patton
    November 22, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    When I discovered the recovery disc I used to rescue my old desktop was Linux based I installed Ubuntu as a dual boot out of curiosity, when the next version of Ubuntu was released I dropped Windows altogether. I swapped from XP on my laptop because it would not boot up, I'm now running Ubuntu Netbook - much faster than my wife's new Windows 7 desktop. The only thing holding back Linux is PCs being supplied with Windows pre installed, were purchasers offered OS free PCs with the price of Windows deducted software developers would soon find an incentive to port existing software to and develop for Linux!

  42. Michael Hoffman
    November 22, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    A lot of it comes down to "What do I want to do with this?"

    I think a lot of people who do scientific computation and general programming, especially those who aren't willing to deal with a very large IDE and those whose problems are not really solvable in Matlab or Mathematica (though both have linux versions), will swear by Linux.

    Also, maybe "primary OS" is not really a useful term in some cases. I don't really have a primary OS. I use Win 7 and Mint and I use them for different things.

    But maybe that's just me, idk.

  43. Bogdan
    November 21, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    So you're first asking "is Linux ready for DESKTOP?" then you talk about music production, graphics and video editing? Wow...
    I'm a music producer and I'm using Windows for this. But for DESKTOP there is absolutely no reason to use it. It's like an old lady with a makeup, it's slow, bloated, unstable and I could go on forever. And OSX is simply annoying trying to be so noob-friendly.
    Linux is not for lazy people.

  44. Anonymous
    November 20, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    You talk about 11.04 but 11.10 has been out for a month which fixed a lot of issues.

    I recommend everyone that doesn't need the latest and greatest to stay with LTS releases.

    Ubuntu works for me, it does what I need it to do. Like everything, it can't fulfill everyone's needs. 

    Windows has a ton of apps, games etc. But I don't need that. I need a fast, secure and frequently released operating system. Ubuntu is just that.

  45. hartford3
    November 20, 2011 at 2:01 am

    I got a couple of my 2cents on here but has anyone mentioned the new Commodore retro cool, desktop.  They have chosen to use Mint 10 as their OS.  You really should check it out and slap it on Virtual of choice.  The home page has all you need.  They say you can load windows if you want to. "But why would you want to?"  I quoted.  They have 3 or so versions of the fully equipped buggers, Commodore, guess they know what their doing.  Eh?  I like mint, "Not Just For Beginners".  

  46. Stephen Green
    November 19, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    I'm in agreement here with the author. Having used Linux in many forms, it's obvious that the continuing unsolved issues that he talks about here, added to the 'new'
    direction some of the major players have embarked on, Unity and the 'new Gnome' come to mind, along with hardware and application quality are huge! Free is fine, sometimes. But not always. The mention of Gimp is a very valid point. Linux will survive alright, but don't expect it to ever compete with Windows or Mac anytime soon. The days of Linux
    attracting newer users who are not angry with Microsoft or Apple are done..

  47. moonpappy
    November 18, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    Linux is for people who love to learn, who can learn and want more out of their systems than someone else's idea of what your computing experience should be. For everyone else - there's Windows. Thus the 1% share Linux enjoys. Most people don't want to - or can't learn something outside of how they are trained to think. An open mind is a rare thing but does bring fresh ideas. A closed mind will stay with what's comfortable and commonplace.

    • James Bruce
      November 19, 2011 at 8:44 am


      Perhaps some of us enjoy learning other things than basic operating systems. Perhaps we like to divert our time to some other enjoyable pursuit. 

      What you meant to say was "linux is for people who think the computer is the end in itself, worthy or reverance and demanding of your time to master it". For the rest of us, the computer is a tool to facilitate other areas of life, and not the ultimate goal in and of itself. 

      • Jeff
        November 19, 2011 at 7:44 pm

        Couldn't have said it better.

      • moonpappy
        November 20, 2011 at 3:21 am

        No, what I meant was Linux is for people who love to learn, who can learn and want more out
        of their systems than someone else's idea of what your computing
        experience should be. I don't think the computer is the end in itself as I use my systems for different tasks - each  configured the way I want them. I stand by my original statement.

      • Brian Neale
        November 20, 2011 at 11:24 pm

        That's hilarious!  Thanks for entertaining me on a wet Monday morning!

  48. Rdavies
    November 18, 2011 at 10:56 pm

     The best propaganda is to tell half truths, in the case of this article it is to leave out important pieces of information.

    It is an unfair playing field when Linux has to compete compared to M$, Adobe etc on their playing field and not on its own merits.  If we were raised in an educational system that taught word processing and photo editing instead of teaching M$ Office and Adobe Photoshop it would be a different story.  We tend to stick to what we are familiar with rather than to switch to something that is foreign to us.

    It angers me that I still have to use Windows on occasion not because I want to but because of compatibility or convenience issues that M$ forces upon us.

    Too much choice amongst Linux distros?  Gimme a break!

    GIMP will have the final release of version 2.8 in the new year with the long awaited single window interface.  Actually it is available now (nearly complete) in version 2.73.

    Audio solutions?  How about Audacity and Ardour for starters.

    Video editing?  Long time app and Academy Award winning video editing software Lightworks will be releasing Linux/Mac versions (likely this month)

    I have to laugh at how it always seems to be the same issues that plague these anti Linux articles.  Is the gaming and video editing community so much larger than the general computing community (web, email, document authoring)

    If we want to have a fair comparison why no mention of the same stereotypical issues facing Windows (rampant viruses, spyware, malware)

    If I had to teach an easier to use operating system to a new computer user it wouldn't be Windows and as someone has already posted if you don't like something about Linux there are lots of choices and solutions.

    • James Bruce
      November 19, 2011 at 8:48 am

      If I had to teach operating systems to a new user, it sure as hell would never be linux. Try Mac.

      As for levelling the playing field? That's laughable, sorry. You don't cripple the winners just so they can play fair with the losers! How about getting them to the point where you don't need to introduce articificial penalties in order to properly compete. 

      • moonpappy
        November 20, 2011 at 3:31 am

        My grandchildren had no problem learning to use Linux and as it stands at present, prefer it over Windows. Their PC's have Debian and Slackware. The oldest is comfortable installing the OS and installing packages. Children are wonderful as they have no preconceived notions as to how things are "supposed to be". New users are not a problem to teach Linux, established users are.

      • Brian Neale
        November 20, 2011 at 11:26 pm

        Yes, teach them about the spinning beach ball, teach them about the closed down nature of Mac, teach them about the big, fat, slow, resource hog that is Itunes, teach them about a completely user-unfriendly OS.  Teach them Mac.

    • Jazzencat
      November 19, 2011 at 9:23 pm

      I use GIMP, but my current problem is that GIMP doesn't play with Nikon .NEF raw images.  I have to shoot in RAW+jpeg mode and use the jpegs on GIMP.  Photoshop handles the NEF images, so for anything where I want to be starting with the RAW images GIMP is more or less a non-starter.  I have a Nikon because they are a very well-known brand, their customer support is better than Canon (faster too), Pentax wasn't available where I was and Sony is a pain in the rear.  Canon cameras didn't feel comfortable in my hands and the Nikon D3000 probably the best entry-level I could get my hands on.  So unless Nikon corp is being a real jerk and refusing to give their .NEF specs to GIMP at all, GIMP doesn't really have an excuse to not support .NEF images (hell, I'd pay them for a GIMP version with .NEF support), I have to do that if I want Elements and GIMP can do a few things Elements can't so I'd have no issues paying them what I'd pay Adobe for Elements.

      F/OSS programs can't constantly play the "free of cost" card either, since there is nothing in the GPL that forbids charging for the software.  You just can't prevent a paying user from modoifying and redistributing the software and you have to provide access to the source-code.

      Ardour is a program I'd pay for as well (and will next time I download), but Ardour is also deliberately designed to be a specialized recording software, that's all the dev has programmed it to do (single guy is the lead on this, and despite the value of the software, very few people using it step up and donate even $40 for the program, and it's worth that much.)  Where I can't make use of Ardour or Audacity is when I need effects plug-ins.  Ardour has a Mac version that supports Audio Units and lets you save presets when you make a donation before downloading.  Audacity has them, but they are not up to snuff for anything other than a hobbyist project for YouTube and the like.  The plugins and reverb on Audacity sound like they were ripped from a base-level Mackie sound-board.  It's fine if I just need to splice and tweak wave files, and that's what I use it for.  Anything on mastering and post-production, I need to go with something like Steinberg's Wavelab.  Linux suffers in the audio plugin area as well as in softsynths and samples.  There's nothing in Linux even close to Native Instruments' samples or even the older Tascam Gigastudio.

      Too many distros is a major issue, and to the previous poster who likened it to saying there are too many models of cars, this is a false analogy (that is the fallacy, by the way).  The car analogy would fit if it was something like you bought a Ford Explorer only to find out that some of the gears won't work or the car won't even start because you live in an apartment building with a parking garage instead of a duplex and park on the street.  So now you have to go see what car make works (not GMC, the reverse doesn't work; not Audi, the driver-side door won't lock; not BMW your seatbelts don't click and so forth)  THAT is the issue with all the distros in Linux.  Fedora vs Debian: Fedora has a different partitioning scheme (LVM) than Debian, and that can cause major issues trying to upgrade or clone a drive etc.

      At least the various BSD's have clear reasons for the forking: OpenBSD is focusing on open code and secure-by-default for server applications.  NetBSD: portability and scalability, FreeBSD: optimised for x86 architecture.  DragonFly BSD: adapted the kernel to function with an FS that is ideal for large-scale systems and has advantages in journaling and recovery from crashes, so again server and other applications where dataloss is extremely detrimental.

      Too often though the different linux distros are more or less the same with a few minor tweaks to interface or something (Mint is to Ubuntu what PC-BSD is to FreeBSD), and they have to go start blasted flamewars over which is better.

      re: Lightworks, I'll keep my eyes open.  I have Blender, Vectorian Giotto, Synfig (both Flash animator programs), Scribus (ghostscript is a pain to deal with), LibreOffice, GIMP.  I haven't found any program to really replace Windows Moviemaker (Jahshaka is dead, Avidemux is a pain to figure out and their documentation sucks)

  49. anonymous
    November 18, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    Linux came late to the game: started up in the 90s/00s, whereas Windows and Mac got started in the 70s/80s. As a result, production software was written for the OS's with the head start. Only makes sense. So, now, Linux isn't popular because it doesn't have the software, and it doesn't have the software because it isn't popular. Tough to break out of that cycle.

    As I see it, this could change overnight. Imagine what would happen if someone created a particularly nasty form of malware that could, essentially, disable Windows everywhere. For more information about the downside of monocultures, look up the Irish Potato Famine.

    • Robin Ashe
      November 18, 2011 at 11:24 pm

      It wouldn't happen. Since Windows XP SP2 and Vista Microsoft has done comprehensive tightening of security, and now that the anti-trust oversight is gone, they can make sure every version of Windows ships with suitable AV software. With Windows 8 they'll control a large portion of where people get their software, meaning much less chance for malware to distribute (likely you'll need to do something like Chevron to sideload Metro applications). It just wouldn't happen.

      OSX is more likely to happen because Apple cares much less about security, but if OSX gets taken down, most people would go to Windows, not Linux. Also, with Lion, the Mac App store and mandatory sandboxing starting in March(?), OSX is going to have similar security out of the box to what Windows 8 will bring.

      Also, the current major malware threat is phishing, which is done over the web, and is platform agnostic. Linux isn't any more secure than Windows or OSX for that, and in fact Windows has the lead because while Firefox was focusing on web standards, Microsoft was focusing on building a database and security net to deal with phishing sites. Not to mention, a lot of the AV software you can buy these days comes with extra identity protection software. Windows only of course.

      Expecting Windows to be taken out is a pipe dream. Linux if it wants to be successful has to get good. It has to follow the lead of successful opensource programs like LibreOffice and Firefox, instead of the current model it uses.

  50. Lisa
    November 18, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    After reading this post, I've come to the conclusion that I must be doing something wrong, as I'm happily using Ubuntu 11.10 as my only OS.

    • James Bruce
      November 19, 2011 at 8:50 am

      You're not doing anything wrong, Lisa. If Ubuntu works for you, that's awesome. We will continue to provide linux focussed article and guides. 

    • Tim Brookes
      December 5, 2011 at 4:20 pm

      Not at all, if your demands are satisfied by your OS then that's great.

  51. Tom
    November 18, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    One point I almost never see mentioned: the reason that Windows and Apple machines "just work" is because during their production someone actually installs and CONFIGURES the OS to work with whatever hardware is in the system. It doesn't "just work" right "out of the box" any more than Linux does, but my partner's Ubuntu-powered desktop "just worked" after I installed the OS and CONFIGURED it to work with the hardware, just as I would have to do if I were installing Windows from scratch.

    • Robin Ashe
      November 18, 2011 at 11:18 pm

      Netbooks came with Linux configured out of the box. They didn't 'just work' to people's satisfaction then. I think it's a bit of a bogus argument. Hell, my Netbook had splashtop, so I booted into Linux first, turned on Pidgin, logged in, and a couple hours later my email account was sending out spam. Only time it has ever happened - after using Pidgin on Linux. Obviously I've never tested it out again to see where the problem was, but that's just about the opposite of 'just works'

    • James Bruce
      November 19, 2011 at 8:51 am

      Uh, the last time I reinstalled windows from scratch it required no configuration at all, so I'm not sure where you got that idea from (perhaps 1999?). Mac neither. 

  52. hartford3
    November 18, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    Goodness, did we ever start something.  As usual.  All those distros are a collection of different systems for different niches.  There's a lot more software out there besides listed in that 'center'.  For example we needed complete audio suite for our band.  $$$$$!  So we looked through the distro's for a 'studio' oriented sw list.  Lo and behold we found several pro software that works through all our equipment.  There's a lot of distros made by professionals such as law enforcement, music, video, science, that HAS software that works.  Do some work.  Look around and glean the software you need and put it in your Mint or Butu or Opensuse, whatever.  There's Phd's out there that only use Linux because it has what they want and just works.  Just because you tried once and screwed everything up. don't give up and bad mouth something you haven't really worked with.  Windows was made for people who know nothing about computing and can go to town.  Personally, every system I've installed (I test 'em all.) works as planned after drivers and updates.  99% have no problems at all.  Most all of the equipment problems have been fixed by people who work for free programming and coding for the cause.  Really you either are or you aren't.  Work on that Linux. Learn a little about computers, and your a secure and happy little camper.  PS, we run a fork of 10.04-3 for the whole family, highschoolers and all.  And our Angry Birds works better on WINE than Win7.  So argue on.  

    • James Bruce
      November 19, 2011 at 8:54 am

      Interesting point. The very fact that linux is so customizable makes it fantastic for embedded and single-purpose niche systems. Absolutely. And for free, too. 

      However, let's not pretend that makes for a good mainstream and general computing experience, because it doesn't. Not everyone has the skills needed to configure, fix problems, download drivers and hack their own kernel. 

      I think your family are going to be a lot of very technically capable people though, which is awesome ;)

  53. Ibrahim Ali
    November 18, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    Still I haven't given up on Linux and there actually things I like about it. These are some of them: 1) a great number of distro choices (albeit sometimes confusing as pointed out) 2) the open source nature 3) it's totally free 4) makes you independent 5) Customizability 6) can be tested on live cd's (unlike Windows) 7) if developed fully the installation through Software Centre (or even Synaptic) is a great idea - allows for multiple installation of programs from an organized clean repository and 8) great community support

  54. Loonycyborg
    November 18, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    Pretty much all those points: Ubuntu Unity, lack of native support for AAA games and some professional software and others have been already done to death. Why do you think that there are only good opinions on Linux? That's definitely not true, yet the article seems to suggest so in its very title!

    • Tim Brookes
      December 5, 2011 at 4:18 pm

      It was a provocative title and as another commenter has pointed out - there really are no shortage of articles that praise Linux!

  55. Ibrahim Ali
    November 18, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    Now guys! No need for all the heated exchanges. I am all for Linux (and open source software) and REALLY wanted it to work. But emotions aside let's be brutally honest. Linux doesn't just have proprietary driver issues. The fact is even those supposedly native Linux applications sometimes balk and totally refuse to run - polish or no polish.

    Why would the Nautilus file manager crash on me? Why would the Kdenlive video editor freeze up and crash? If you are thinking of using all the media (videos, photos and music) on Ubuntu, forget it. Even vlc gets quirky. Why do after all the sweat and hard work setting up my wireless network would Ubuntu/Mint continue to plague me with issues/drops on both my desktop and laptop -- this is year 2011.

    The fact is even those open source programs (we love) do run much more solidly/smoothly on Windows than on Linux - a case in point: Firefox and vlc player.  

    If I am gonna edit videos/photos/music, I am not gonna f* around on Linux - because I know with Windows/Mac, I will be, as it were, going up the floors on an elevator pressing buttons while on Linux I will be using the stairs and would come with a half-baked work. 

    Add to these all the program installation nightmare (ironically this could have been the best part as the idea of a repository or Software Center is a great one and under-utilized but you still have to hunt and compile from source for newer programs and deal with dependencies) -- why do we expect any average user to even consider it? What makes things even WORSE is that the Linux hardcore guys quickly tell you in a haste to use Ubuntu or Linux Mint as they are simpler for a BEGINNER (they imply by this that you should MOVE on - it makes you wonder why). 

    But to your surprise you find that they (Ubuntu/Mint/PCLinux) are not simple at all. So you wonder - if this is their idea of "being simple" then to have their level of proficiency (and MOVE on to other distros as they expect you to) you will need a PHD grade knowledge. --- Linux users STOP saying use Ubuntu/Mint as a beginner (and thereby implying more learning and headaches to come with "Gentoo") -- that's a big turnoff - why can't people just stick with what they have? This kind of statement also betrays/hints the idea that Linux is a toying program (to jump os's) rather than a serious permanent working os.

    This is all -- I wrote all this on Ubuntu 11.04 using the Opera browser.  


    • Robin Ashe
      November 18, 2011 at 11:16 pm

      Yeah, the constant distro hopping is definitely an odd one too. It means almost nobody is satisfied with their distro. Even if they stick with one for a couple years, they end up being dissatisfied, and instead of looking at the next version of the same distro, they choose a different one. If that's what the majority of users do....

    • Tim Brookes
      January 6, 2012 at 2:46 am

      Everything you said makes so much sense.

  56. Poena
    November 18, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    I have tried for 2 years to like Linux and installed a few distro's - each one came with it's own problems.

    I wasn't prepared to spend time and energy to figure out "how to" when I hit a snag.

    Was never converted and always went back to Windows.

    In my opinion Linux lost momentum when Win 7 replaced Vista, and a super slick Win 8 is going to do more damage.

    • Robin Ashe
      November 18, 2011 at 11:13 pm

      Yes, Linux had a chance to gain momentum when Vista hit, but people were happy to just stick with Windows XP. Keep using what you're used to, or learn a new system? If people weren't willing to learn how to handle UAC, are they going to want to learn more of the quirks that Linux has?

    • James Bruce
      November 19, 2011 at 8:56 am

      Can I pop in for a moment here and say "mac osx". 

      Windows 8 is going to be as big a joke as windows ME was. It will be forgotten and written off, and it'll be back to the desktop for windows 8.5

  57. minnesota linux
    November 18, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    > If you’re lucky enough to find a distribution you love, don’t play games
    >  and couldn’t care less about Adobe’s Creative Suite or a powerful video
    > editor then that’s awesome.

    So, basically, Linux is great for 90% of people.  Plus, KDEnlive is a pretty damned good video editor but it does have room to grow, no question.

    • Robin Ashe
      November 18, 2011 at 11:11 pm

      Nope, much, much less. Many people play games. On mobiles, games are the most popular app category, and people spend as much time playing games as browsing the web. Since most people have web based email, "browsing the web & email" is just "browsing the web", but the two top things people want to do with their computing devices is browse the net, and play games.

      And the thing with half the app usage total being games, that's something around 90% of people playing games. Everyone plays games, but the thing with casual gamers is there are games they like, and games they don't like. They don't seek out a game because it's a game, they like it because they were incidentally exposed to it and want to keep playing. Linux doesn't have the volume of games to attract people like that.

    • Tim Brookes
      December 5, 2011 at 4:15 pm

      Kdenlive is a messy and broken video editor with way too many issues and regular crashes. However, it has given me the best results out of all the Linux-compatible non-linear editors out there.

  58. IMHO
    November 18, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    Well, it looks you are getting the best of Windows and Mac systems to beat down Linux. 2 against 1 ain't fair!
    If you don't like Unity doesn't mean it is not usable. Many people didn't like the change, it's ok. Let ask you something how many people liked the change from Windows XP to Vista?
    Again if you don't like Unity, install Kubuntu or Xubuntu if Ubuntu is what you want.

    Then you said: do you have to turn off the default Windows or OS X interface for it to become usable?
    Can you? even if you want? Many XP users would have done it when migrating to Vista.
    Have you ever tried to change the desktop wallpaper in a Windows 7 starter edition?

    GIMP is not enough?? Wait! Oh now we are talking about proffesionals and not users? Ok, you may be right, for video/photograph professional work you may need something "better", but no a Windows machine, this is a Mac terriory. As an user, GIMP give me way more than I need and the same thing for video edition, I currently use OpenShot and Blender and again more than enough for me.
    By the way it looks like companies like Pixar uses Linux for rendering their animations, seems like Macs are not good when it comes to build a cluster...
    oh, ok, this is not for users... oh wait, we were talking about professionals weren't we? I am confused now.

    Gaming, yes you are right, the last games in the market are not available for Linux, so you need a Windows system. Oh, by the way you forgot to add in this comparisson Mac OS.

    What about servers? Don't like to make any comparisson in this field? Oh, I see this from the users perspective.
    What about development? These people are just weird.

    I totally agree Linux is not pefect by any mean, but is not as bad this article makes it look like. As I said you are using the best of Windows and Macs to beat Linux and also you are mixing users and professionals whenever is convenient to make it look bad.

  59. BSK_1
    November 18, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    Did you forget that GIMP and other editing software is free,open source?Did you maybe spent some time to check out how much money is spent on development of Adobe Premier or FinalCut Pro?Next time time do so before you spit on Linux and open source projects and if you don't like it,go ahead and give to Microsoft (or Apple) money for something that is not near so good as Linux is,if you consider that most of Linux distributions come from the comunity and are developed without multimillion support like Windows and OS X...

    • Rob
      November 18, 2011 at 5:18 pm

      The question is not Free or not, the question is can I use it to do my job.
      the Gimp: no, bluefish: no or may be, creating color profiles: nearly impossible, remote control of camera: no.
      I and with me many others are prepared to pay for good software, I would love to see Adobe on Ubuntu, I am sure it would be more stable, it would be great if  could use the Colormunki in Ubuntu but no, unfortunately that is not the case.

    • Robin Ashe
      November 18, 2011 at 11:07 pm

      The money spent on Premier by people who buy it is worth it, because they end up making money off the content they make with it.

    • James Bruce
      November 19, 2011 at 8:59 am

      So the argument is going to be "you get what you pay for" then? I dont really think simply being free should be an excuse for something being low quality. There's tons of open source solutions that are absolutely incredible, and BETTER than the competition. WordPress would be a great example. 

    • Frank B
      April 4, 2015 at 3:13 am

      The amount of time and effort I spent fixing and learning half of these programs in Linux I could have just got a part time job and bought easy to use professional software in the first place. I love Linux for its security, basic computing, and cost (for the OS and software)but the number of issues I have nearly every time I try to do something new or install a new program is just ridiculous. Just today I installed code::blocks, everything seemed fine until I went to compile some code. I spent a good 5 hours fixing that problem, went to compile again and a completely and ran into another unrelated issue. After about 2-3 hours of reading forums and trying fixes I gave up. This happens to me an a fairly regular basis.

      When I try to use basic image editing software with layers I have to lookup how to do EVERY single basic thing. Want to crop a picture? Turns out you can't actually crop with this program because they essentially just hide some of the image that you "cropped" but here is a workaround (I'm looking at you Draw). Then I do the workaround but it turns out it doesn't work if you modify the image. So I had to download another program that could crop correctly and had to figure out the weird method for that program as well. Then I had to go back into the first editor with my newly cropped image which I tried to make transparent. But of course right click, edit style?, 10% transparency, apply didn't work. And I had no idea why, tried it a different way...still didn't work, tried little icon on my toolbar, now it suddenly works. There is no rhyme or reason why that method worked but the others didn't they were all exactly the same function for the same image.

      This is by no means a common occurrence, and it is the reason I will only use linux for simple tasks or to play around on old computers that barely run.

  60. Dave Holden
    November 18, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    It's horses for courses - as a server it's second to none. I thank my lucky stars every day I don't have to run Window server. As a desktop, well our business runs on it. That said I agree with some of your criticism of the home user experience. But then I don't think it has anything to do with it being "Linux" it just the network effect of Microsoft being dominant. After all Android is fundamentally just "Linux" and plenty of "home" users get on fine with that.

  61. Oilets
    November 18, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    I totally agree. 5stars. Linux devs need to be carefull not to end up being mistaken/confused and put in the same bag as winOsx.

  62. Anonymous
    November 18, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Greatest weaknesses for Ubuntu are:
    Still not looking good enough. Some random bugs. Linux as a whole: the easy support for iThings (sync ipod and such, I have not found player that support full synchro like Itunes, half of the time I have trouble the player recognizing the ipod, etc) Some easy solutions for consumers are provided fir Win or Mac only. I have two HTC phones, HTC comes with software for Win only( not that I use it, but...)
    As for the GIMP vs Photoshop, if one really needs CYMK support for print, well, as some said it before me( all post is great, btw) you go with the O that goes best with your software.

  63. Andrade Mike
    November 18, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    *Yawn*  Should've titled this article, "How to be a troll and get lots of responses."

  64. Bben46
    November 18, 2011 at 11:56 am

    I have tried using various linux distros from time to time. I keep hearing how wonderful it is and how easy to use it is and how it is so much better. Maybe for geeks, but my own experience is after a few days I run into some must have program or driver that is just not available or is not working properly - and go back to Windows. 

    I tried to set up several of the small linux distros - puppy, etc on a netbook for my 85 year old mother who is baffled by windows - she gave it back to me after fighting with it for a week. All she wants to do is email her older sister - I set the sister up with a windows system several years ago and she has been able to use it for several things. email, pandora, facebook.

    In my opinion, for non geeks, linux is just not ready for prime time yet. I still have hopes for it though.

    • Robin Ashe
      November 18, 2011 at 11:05 pm

      Definitely, Linux had its chance to break out into the mainstream with Netbooks, but that just didn't happen. People bought them because they were cheap, and if Linux were good they would have kept using them. They didn't.

  65. Count Stex
    November 18, 2011 at 11:13 am

    It's been a while since I had a version of Linux installed. When I did is was Ubuntu. My idea was simple, Windows becomes bogged down when you use it for general stuff all the time, installing uninstalling it all goes to clog things up. as a gamer this is a problem as that will directly impact my game experience.
    Thus my idea was simple, run Linux for day to day Web and application use, and have a super lean and clean windows install for gaming on. And it worked, but flip flopping between boots became a pain, it took too long. Admittedly this was back before i had an SSD for my main drive, and maybe it would be worth trying again now, however in the meantime Windows 7 has arrived and Windows no longer seems to suffer from the inevitable slowdown of the past so the need to use anything else, given you need Windows if you are a serious PC gamer, has all but gone.

    • Robin Ashe
      November 18, 2011 at 11:04 pm

      Installing and uninstalling is also a pain on linux though. Most distros now just install everything by default. I remember 10 years ago you selected the packages you wanted installed, and nothing more. So when you go into a package manager to clean the menus up, you spend hours removing stuff, and being unsure how important the dependencies that get taken out as well are.

      I agree though that Windows 7 has changed a lot, now with Windows 7 I only have the motivation to try Linux because it's a geeky thing to do, not because I actually expect it to replace Windows. Back when Vista had just come out though, and the features weren't working well with a system intended for XP, I did enjoy that KDE had all the same graphical effects of Vista Aero while being much leaner.

  66. guest
    November 18, 2011 at 10:36 am

    "Serious video editing is a no-go too. Despite the many capable solutions
    out there that are built for Linux, there’s still nothing that compares
    to industry standards like Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premier..."

    An interesting (if inaccurate) assumption, since Linux is apparently both the desktop and server/render farm OS of choice at many of the major studios...

    "The movie Scooby Doo, for example, was created at
    the Rhythm and Hues studio and the whole movie was rendered and touched
    up with the help of custom made software which ran on Linux systems.
    Other blockbuster movies like The Matrix, Titanic, Gladiator, Superman
    Returns, What Dreams May Come, Cats and Dogs, Shrek, The Perfect Storm,
    Prince of Egypt, The Road to El Dorado, Antz, Chicken Run, Deep
    Blue Sea, Star Trek: Insurrection, Fantasia 2000, Men in Black, Hollow
    Man and many many more, were created with Linux software such as RAYZ,
    Maya or Shake."

    • James Bruce
      November 19, 2011 at 9:01 am

      You're confusing video editing with 3D rendering. The two are very different concepts. 

  67. Jazzencat
    November 18, 2011 at 10:10 am

    Yes, audio editing can be done on linux, I use Ardour on my mac (I can't afford Logic and ProTools is sketchy) as well as Audacity on my Windows and Mac OS X installs, but the plugins and effects for Ardour and Audacity on Linux simply are not in the same league as those used in Mac (Logic and Audio Units are some of the top tier ones) and Linux has nothing that compares to Native Instruments' Softsynths or even the older Tascam Giga Studio.  The effects on Audacity and Ardour sound like the effects of a cheap hobbyist Mackie 8-channel mixer.

    ProTools is great--if you can get it to work, but I've had nothing but grief with it.  For a hobbyist or someone just doing something for their friends or YouTube videos, generally the Linux tools are adequate for the task.  They can be a bit clunky though, but I really can't use them for any project where I need the sound quality to be up to sellable standards.  Ardour and Audacity also have some interface issues, which left me using Digital Performer and Cubase instead.  The are generally pants, to say the least.

    I'd hardly call Linux Audio tools "superior". About the only software that actually holds it's own in terms of interface and quality for recording alone is Ardour, but I still have the problem of decent Linux plugins. I'm using Ardour on Mac OSX so I can take advantage of the Audio Units plugins to get decent effects. I haven't seen a single softsynth for linux that even comes close to Gigastudio, let alone Native Instruments. Ardour is very good at what it does (Hard Drive recording), and it manages this by specializing and not shipping with any audio plugins. Problem is the plugins. I still have to transfer the waves from Ardour to Digital Performer, Wavelab or Cubase on a Windows machine to take advantage of the Native Instruments or to Mac to make use of Audio Units. Either way linux is of limited use to me.

  68. hartford3
    November 18, 2011 at 10:04 am

    Need help, like polite, concerned people from all over the world. Help with all Linux distros and Windows too? All in one attractive, easy to navigate web site. Aaaand, more than a few remixes/forks that just work. Then, check out http://www.ultimateeditionoz/forums.  You are never gonna get dissed there.  No spam, cussing, picking  BS allowed.

  69. Bob Henson
    November 18, 2011 at 9:42 am

    Your article is exactly correct. I use Ubuntu and Debian on my old laptop that was useless under Windows XP and is fine under Linux for communications purposes alone -  e-mail and browsing. Leaving aside the problems finding drivers for some hardware, and installing them without considerable study into how Linux works, it does not do games (even Windows games with Wine - which, if you can get it for your distro, is flaky in the extreme), video editing, music and getting help from experienced users is hard, hard work - they don't want anyone entering their own little nerdy world.

    You are also spot on with your assessment of Linux as it develops. From Linux Mint 8 (my laptop rescuer) to 11, it has got more bloated, and slower and slower, depite my adding extra memory. I'm starting to see why the Linux nerds want it kept the way it was. The flashy new interfaces and higher and higher hardware requirements are turning it into Windows L (they could call it). For the moment I'm staving off the worst by sticking with Mint Debian - but Gnome 3 already inveigled its way into into that one, and the writing is on the wall. 

    • Robin Ashe
      November 18, 2011 at 11:00 pm

      I'm finding a major problem with Linux on old computers these days. Not enough RAM. Linux distros are becoming more RAM hungry, and the core thing most people do - browsing - now demands more RAM than anything except possibly a high end game. If you've got a system with 256MB RAM, you can either expect it to run very slowly while browsing the web, or you can just stick to a few websites. Either way, you're better off using the old machine to play Quake 3, or something like that.

  70. T.A. (Tim) Walker
    November 18, 2011 at 8:56 am

    Ah, the "too many distributions" trope again... I wasn't planning to "bite", but this fallacy gets me every time.

    It's like saying "there are too many makes/models/types of car" - does anyone seriously suggest that the variety of vehicles available is a bad thing, because it "confuses the public"? For one thing, there are car "users", and there are "enthusiasts". If you're handy in the garage, fancy high performance and the kind of looks that get people rubber-necking, you're probably not going to set off to your nearest Ford dealership. (Example. Example.)

    Similarly: I wanted a Linux distro for my Asus Eee 701SD netbook (a low-powered machine with specific hardware quirks), and frankly Ubuntu and its offshoots just weren't suitable for various reasons. In the end, I went for Arch Linux, because I could hand-pick every component and fine-tune it to the Eee's needs - it *flies* now, in a way that it never did with the Ubuntu-spinoff it used to run on.

    Your Linux experience is your own, and just as valid as anyone else's, but in my view, that "too many distros" argument is a fallacy that needs challenging wherever it is raised. (Interesting article otherwise :-) )

    • Robin Ashe
      November 18, 2011 at 9:35 am

      There are too many distributions though. Between all the distros I could make a pretty awesome OS that works on every computer I try to install it on. If everyone making their own forked distro instead worked together to make sure every computer out there is supported properly, instead of arguing about UI tweaks, and whether Gnome or KDE is better, Linux would have much more progress.

      Firefox is successful because everyone is cooperating to make a browser that competes with IE. There are the odd forks or optimised builds, but every time FF moves forward, most of these forks move forward as well, re-implementing the tweaks or optimisations each time.

      OpenOffice/LibreOffice is the same, it forked when Oracle went crazy, but the Go-oo guys decided to merge with LibreOffice as they realised that they could do a better job working together rather than separately. IBM Lotus Symphony is a fork again, but that was made internally for their own purposes, and released for anyone else to use as well. It's a fork with a logical purpose.

      We've got two great examples of open source software working well and progressing quickly because of everyone working together. We don't have hundreds of different browsers running on the Gecko engine, some using GTK+, others using Qt, a few more compiled in native code for various operating systems, etc. There's FireFox, and then a few optimised builds, Waterfox for 64-bit windows, Camino to have a UI that integrates better with OSX, IceWeasel to be GPL compliant, but nothing much else.

      Linux needs much, much, much more cooperatin. Instead of having Ubuntu go one direction with Unity, trying to create a touch friendly UI, and Gnome go another direction with Shell, also making a touch friendly UI, and Mint messing with Gnome 3 to make it look quite different, and everyone else swearing off it to use LXDE instead, while KDE works on their own touch friendly Plasma interface.... they could all work together. They could have different distros with a real purpose, instead of fragmenting both end users and the code contributors.

  71. vzades
    November 18, 2011 at 6:48 am

    If you are hard core gamer or you are in printing business  Linux is not for you other wise Ubuntu is and other Linux os  are best i haven't used mac though but i have used windows vista which is a shit os . Avoid the gate of hell 

  72. Dave Hilling
    November 18, 2011 at 5:39 am

    Here's the part of point the article is making: Try to describe that to your Grandma.

    • Robin Ashe
      November 18, 2011 at 9:26 am

      If it's your Grandma you could actually get her using Linux. You'd buy the computer for her, set it up for her, she'd call you and you'd either use remote access to get in or help her over the phone. So for that it works, but I don't think many people would be willing to go to those extents for anyone who isn't family.

  73. Dave Hilling
    November 18, 2011 at 5:19 am

    In order for Linux to break into the general market beyond corporations and hobbyists, there is one thing it really needs, and that's support, including shipping with OEM bundles as well as access to customer service. You're still pretty much on your own with Linux, being unable to pick up the phone when your system refuses to recognize your printer and get a walkthrough. If that support structure was there, I could easily see giving Grandma a Linux box. For that matter, imagine being a tech support rep trying to tell Grandma how to add the Medibuntu repositories so she can play the MP3's she bought from Amazon. Even Android has that advantage. If your phone refuses to boot, you just call your manufacturer and they'll hook you up with warranty service. Of course, for all the knocks against Ubuntu, I think they're the closest to a mainstream distro that anyone will get, and their AppStore-styled software center is a great step towards being the ideal intuitive system for getting software, but it won't really arrive until there's real customer service in place. That's why people still pay for Mac OS or Windows even though Linux is free.

  74. indovisit
    November 18, 2011 at 4:52 am

    Linux is still an alternatif option, but enough for average user in general purpose. What make linux still not widely used is the availability of pirated windows. 

  75. Robin Ashe
    November 18, 2011 at 3:52 am

    The fragmentation isn't just a problem for confusion, it's that a lot of work is being done to do the same stuff, instead of having everyone do the same thing. Instead of the Linux community getting together and just putting something together, you've got Richard Stallman and the FSF feuding with the more practical aspects of the community. You've got KDE vs Gnome vs Xfce vs etc, etc, etc. All these people could be working together but they're not.

    It's also a huge problem for hardware compatibility. I've been trying to use Linux since 1998, when I was just starting high school. I wanted to like it, it seemed perfect (and I still want to like it), but it wouldn't run well on my hardware. Having spent over $2000 of my own money buying a PC, and finding XFree86 wouldn't cooperate with my video card (and I spent hundreds of hours editing files to force it to work, it just wouldn't). I had to leave Linux alone for years after that. With my next PC things got a lot better (An Acer Convertible Tablet PC, that should be a challenge). I tried a variety of distros, and they at least mostly worked, but I either had a problem with some hardware aspect not working, or some of the software was incomplete or wouldn't work. Since I was in University, I needed my system to work, and when I couldn't get something to work while I had a project to write, I rebooted back into Windows and I usually left it there for a while.

    My next attempt has been with an LG Netbook I bought, since it doesn't have an optical drive, installing is very difficult. Netbooks are perfect for Linux to show its stuff given the low specs and small screens, but the majority of linux users seem to expect everyone to have an optical drive and install from CD. Maybe one out of five distros I try will actually boot enough to install or try it in live mode. My brother has a Toshiba netbook, he has the same problem, but it's different distros that work for him. I can get openSUSE to boot, but Fedora never finishes. He has the opposite problem.

    That was really the final straw for me. If my brother and I could attempt the same distro, and when we encounter problems bounce ideas off each other to solve them, we'd be able to get somewhere. But we might have go go through 30 or 40 distros to find one that actually installs and that we both like enough to continue working with. Like it should be 80%-90% usable out of the box. Most aren't.

    I then tried installing Android-x86 on it. It worked without a hitch, despite noticing my netbook wasn't an Eee PC. Froyo doesn't have good mouse support, so it's a pain moving around it in some aspects, particularly given that the End key acts as power off instead of as a scroll to the bottom, and it happens to be nested with the arrow keys. So there are some UI fixes that need to be made (and which I expect to be improved with Honeycomb). Android also brings in software that's better than what's available on Windows. Lately desktop development has been lagging with all the focus and excitement on the mobile space. On Linux the software is almost never as good as on Windows - if you're lucky it's good enough if you want to like Linux and put up with it, but it's certainly not better.

    With Android, even if it has some drawbacks over Windows, it has some advantages. And with a small project like Android-x86, it worked better than most Linux distros have. I've found my Windows alternative. Admittedly it'll be another 1-2 year wait until it's really viable, but that's nothing like the 10+ years Linux has had and still not gotten it right.

  76. Alan Dee
    November 18, 2011 at 3:50 am

    I love Linux. The problem is that OSX and Windows 7 are both really good. I credit OSX for raising the bar of operating systems. I think the drive to Unity is to adapt for a tablet PCs. But I don't think tables will replace PCs. They are filling a need that PCs used to fill. But as a software engineer my desktop is going nowhere.
    The primary reason I use Linux is for stability and security. No BSOD to worry about. If anything crashes I can restart that process WITHOUT restarting. Remember the root kit virus for windows a few months ago? If you caught it you had no choice but to re-install with a full format (losing all your data). I didn't have a thing to worry about on my Linux boxes.
    Some anoyances I do have do include the problems with flash. Worse, Moonlight, the linux equivalent to Silverlight, lacks the DRM components. This means that programs like NetFlix don't run.
    I like to think of operating systems like cars. Windows is a mass produced Ford. OSX is a high priced Mercadies, expensive but very nice. Linux you build yourself. You can get it in a kit (e.g. distributions) or you can build it to fit your needs: a stock car or F1 car for instance.

    • Robin Ashe
      November 18, 2011 at 3:55 am

      I've been thinking that Unity and Gnome Shell are moves towards Tablets as well, but that move needed to happen 5 years ago when Microsoft was making its Tablet PC push, not now that Android's out. Android isn't quite 'Linux', and might not be as open as some people like, but it's pretty close, and I'm damn sure that Android will provide a better tablet experience, particularly with software support, than Linux will.

      In that sense Android is a win for Linux, but only the Linux Kernel, it's a huge loss for GNU.

  77. Ankur
    November 18, 2011 at 3:50 am

    Despite I really like Linux and fully support it, I have to say that I agree with you.

    In short I would say, " I cannot have Linux as my PRIMARY OS ".

  78. 157audio
    November 18, 2011 at 3:17 am

    I've been using linux for about 5 years now, after a vista licensing issue on my wife's laptop made me finally listen to my friend about ubuntu. Since then I have tried a lot of distros and while I can follow directions to use the command line, am no programmer. I use linux for everything but my music production. Right now I am typing from bodhi linux, which is pretty cool, very light and fast, but enlightenment is a little buggy. I think I am going to go back to opensuse and get over my fear of building packages. Ubuntu has been getting really heavy as of late, that I will agree with, and unity just doesn;t do it for me. I tried to like it, and see why they made it, but I find it limits quick access to the things I like to have quick access for, so it didn't live long on my machine.

    The one thing that has happened recently though in linux that is frustrating and is starting to have my eyes on a mac (but I HATE the mac OSX interface, I've tried to like it but just can't) is the power issue- recent versions of the kernel are getting significantly less battery life- I am getting about 4 hours on battery on my lenovo t410, on super powersave mode, and in mint 10 I was getting 6. I understand it is better in win 7, which is also on here, but I can't stand windows and it's only on here for music production. THAT is the one area where I really gave linux a go but the music production stuff, with jack, ardour, etc, is a mess right now, too many people with different ideas who fight about stuff and tweak latency to ridiculously low levels (I could never achieve it anyway) but make very little actual music. So I try to forget I'm using windows when I'm using reaper (praying he makes a native linux version soon).

    Anyway, not giving up just yet...

    • Jeff
      November 18, 2011 at 3:28 am

      Downgrade your kernel. Typically, your grub will store the last two kernel versions you've used, you can select to boot into it. If not, do a "sudo aptitude search linux-image" and find the kernel that worked well before, then install it with "sudo aptitude install [image name]".

      Open up a new question if this doesn't help! (:

  79. Eric Miller
    November 18, 2011 at 3:15 am

    I'm a long time Windows user/programmer. At home, I switched to Linux several years ago and settled on Ubuntu for a couple of years. A year ago I got tired of solving hardware compatibility issues twice a year and invested in a Macbook. Linux has it's place and I'll continue to use and support open source software, but I'm not going back to it for everyday use. Ubuntu may be Linux for human beings but I'd much rather use something that simply works. For me that's OS X.

  80. Iam Akash
    November 18, 2011 at 2:49 am

    really it 's a good post
    someone telling us the cons of linux, i suffered a bit due to unity  
    , but hey still linux is a good option 

  81. minehat
    November 18, 2011 at 2:41 am

    Mobile OS is taking over now. Linux is just for the geeky like most of us.

    • Jeff
      November 18, 2011 at 3:14 am

      And what do you think powers these mobile operating systems? Android is based on the Linux kernel. Even Mac OSX and iOS are based on the Unix kernel. Odds are very good, if it needs to run on your palm or with limited resources, it's running Nix*.

      • Robin Ashe
        November 18, 2011 at 4:06 am

        Yes, but it's only running the Kernel. None of the userland tools, GUI, or frameworks from Linux are in place on Android.

        • Jeff
          November 18, 2011 at 4:16 am

          Only the kernel? The kernel is the most important part of the entire operating system. It's not just the kernel eithier, all of the API's and Libraries written for Linux (surface manager, OpenGL, SGL, SSL, LibC, all the major drivers, memory management, multithreading, etc.). Without Linux, no Dalvik VM and without that, no apps.

          Android is Linux + Core Libraries and the application framework.

  82. Matt
    November 18, 2011 at 2:40 am

    Linux really doesn't have that many shortcomings, for what its meant to be used for. If you want to game, by all means stick to Windows. No one ever said gaming was a reason to switch to Linux. In fact, out of all of the things that I've showed my friends about Linux was actually its free software (specifically office suite) and its beauty.

    One awesome project to look out for, professional software wise, is Novacut. It looks to be a highly promising, fully equipped video editor.

    • Robin Ashe
      November 18, 2011 at 4:06 am

      What's the odds that it will stay a Linux exclusive rather than make its way to Windows and OSX?

  83. Brian Neale
    November 18, 2011 at 2:37 am

    I don't think anyone is suggesting that Linux is a "one-size fits all" distribution, so I don't see much point in this article.  I don't think Mac or Windows are suitable for everyone either, so can I look forward to follow-up articles entitled "Why Mac Isn't as Good as Everyone Makes it Out to be (Opinion)" and then one for Windows?

  84. Danny Stieben
    November 18, 2011 at 2:32 am

    I used to see lots of promise in Linux releases, no matter what distribution. However, recent releases and the paths that distributions are taking is pushing me back a little bit. If Macs weren't so expensive, I'd probably order one by now.

    I still run Linux on all my systems, but there isn't as much enthusiasm as before. Maybe if it would also work on my updated hardware... -_-

  85. Lee
    November 18, 2011 at 2:27 am

    I have dual booted linux on a few computers and I definitely couldn't use it as my primary OS. Mostly because of software incompatibility, but I haven't found one yet that has a really nice UI (Ubuntu is OK but it still looks a little childish to me. And other distros look too cluttered or look like Windows 95).
    If it weren't for the programs that I absolutely can't get on Linux (and I don't want to reboot every time I want to use them, or setup a VM) I could probably switch.

    However, Linux is a lifesaver when fixing a machine that wont boot. It's really nice to just be able to pop in a LiveCD and have access to all the files on the drive and be able to troubleshoot issues. And while I've never tried any server versions of Linux, everything I've heard says it's very good (I have hosted websites on servers running Linux, but they were always just free hosts so I didn't set it up or anything).
    After reading this post I might try a Linux server but I don't really have much use for one.

    • Robin Ashe
      November 18, 2011 at 4:10 am

      Yeah, Live CDs are a big bonus for Linux. Knoppix is certainly pretty awesome in that department, but using it as a rescue utility is different from using it as a daily use OS.

  86. Jeff
    November 18, 2011 at 2:27 am

    Yes, what operating system doesn't have serious problems?

    If you buy hardware that nobody has heard of, don't think it will work without a hitch in Linux. Like that router you got from your Ethiopian coke contact. If your afraid of the command line, Linux will be daunting. Though, there are an overwhelming amount of distributions suited towards a beginner, such as Linux Mint. If you can't figure out Mint, you might as well check your ass directly into a grave my friend. The internet runs on Linux, including MakeUseOf.

    Why Linux Is Better
    Nothing says "Give the users the power" quite like Linux does. A message from the Linux evangelic community (:

  87. Anonymous
    November 18, 2011 at 2:19 am

    So according to this article: 1) Ubuntu's screw up of its GUI is reason to dump Linux; and 2) no decent video editor is reason to dump Linux, and 3) the fact that most game companies don't port to Linux is reason to dump Linux.

    This is just stupid.

    Linux has superior audio editing software available. Linux has superior software development tools available. Linux has superior multimedia viewing software available. Linux has the same OpenOffice available as Windows. Linux has superior Web hosting software available. Linux has superior database software available (there's a REASON Oracle has its own Linux distro.) Linux can do anything on the Web that Windows can do and more.

    And then we have the constantly re-iterated non-issue of "too much choice". This simply doesn't exist. The average new user to Linux has never heard of ninety-nine percent of the specialized distros out there. They've heard of Red Hat Fedora, openSUSE, Ubuntu, Debian, and perhaps one or two others if they try. That's no more choice than deciding between Windows XP, Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Home Premium, or Windows 7 Ultimate. And NONE of those main Linux choices really matter - unless of course you realize how Ubuntu has screwed up its interface.

    Speaking of the latter, I've avoided Ubuntu for years after having had a bad experience with Kubuntu stability, as well as preferring KDE to GNOME. That led me to openSUSE which has stood me in excellent stead of several years now, from 11.0 to 11.4 and soon to 12.1. So I've always understood that Ubuntu is a "dilettante's" Linux, one that strived for "cutting edge" and "end user friendly" and failed to achieve either compared to other, more stable and better QA'd distros.

    So just because Ubuntu's current edition sucks and just because there's no decent video editor (unless you look at LightWorks, which is professional grade quality just released as open source in the past year) and just because most high power games aren't running on Linux is no reason to dismiss the OS in general.

    Most full time Linux users on any major distro have no trouble doing ALL of the things that the general or office PC user needs to do. And they do it with EXTREME RELIABILITY, and considerably better security and equivalent ease of use of ANY Windows OS.

    • Rob
      November 18, 2011 at 3:32 am

      Using Ubuntu for photo editing and design I can not:
      use a densitometer to generate a color profile and match my printer to my screen.
      create an image using a CMYK profile for offset print
      control my canon SLR camera from my PC (For studio shots)
      use a programs like dream-weaver that makes web-design so much easier
      For normal use (non design) I will use Ubuntu, I like Ubuntu, it is simple, stable and I have no problems with the Unity desktop, Thunderbird mail is for me an example how a mail client should work, libre Office without the "ribbon" as in MS off2007 - 2001 is a relief but unfortunately, for photo editing and printing, design and web design is Ubuntu simply not good enough.
      Typed in Firefox 8 and Ubuntu 11.04

    • Tim Brookes
      November 20, 2011 at 12:54 am

      I never said that the OS should be dismissed altogether, and I've even made the point that Linux has its place. I also explained the Ubuntu angle in the article - Ubuntu is by far the most popular Liniux distro. The buzz surrounding its ease of use and validity as a fully working "Linux for the Desktop!" solution has never really been attached to any other distro (Debian a while ago maybe, or Mint more recently).

      Therefore the devs had an opportunity - to improve, tailor and generally "soften" Linux into an OS that everyone would find useful, easy and pleasant. That hasn't happened, in my opinion, and the direction Ubuntu is going is doing nothing for seasoned or new users.

  88. Gerardo24
    November 18, 2011 at 2:08 am

    I believe it depends on your needs.

    If you only need offimatics and web access to facebook, chats and so... Why not to go with a free easy solution?
    if you are a programer, then linux and command lines is the choice.
    If you are a gamer... Buy a windows super expensive box, a xbox of Ps
    If you like something that simple works, have video and audio editing solutions out of the box, not care on viruses, go for a Mac

    If you are a profesional in video, imaging or audio, you will have to buy a box that have the OS that best suits your prefered editing program, or the one that has the company were you work.

    But for the must part of the population I believe that a Linux Box is an affordable option to be in contact with the world, and type a few letters.

    • Scott Barbour
      November 18, 2011 at 2:39 am

      General productivity - Easily done on Linux
      Programming - Easily done on Linux
      Servers - Done on Linux or another Unix-like OS (You just don't do it using Windows or Mac unless you're being subsidized by Microsoft or Apple, and even Hotmail ran on Apache rather than IIS)
      Audio and video editing - Can be done on Linux if you are willing to learn.  There are even distros specifically for it (such as Ubuntu Studio or 64 Studio)
      Games - Best done on Windows (since it is the primary target for most, but not all games).  It's not because Linux can't handle it. It's just that every game developer has been using DirectX for a decade and a half.  A shift has begun for multi-platform compatibility (due to the power of smartphones).  Technologies such as SDL are becoming fairly commonplace.  There is now even a game delivery platform with a native Linux client (Desura)

    • Robin Ashe
      November 18, 2011 at 4:14 am

      That's the problem, Linux isn't always an easy solution. First of all, you need to reformat your hard drive, and if you want to do it non-destructively, research the right partitioning software. Then you install it. Then, you discover that the Linux distro everyone talks about (Ubuntu), doesn't support MP3 files. Then you look up support information.... that's a lot of work to get Linux just working at the same minimum base level as Windows. Easy is sticking with Windows, which came with your computer anyway, and therefore doesn't cost anything extra.

      • Lagesvantner
        November 18, 2011 at 4:49 am

        A couple quick searches in the Software Center will let you install codecs for everything you need.  Also, Windows does cost extra, but the license is included in the price of the system -- buying the exact same box without any software is noticeably cheaper than buying it with Windows.

        • Robin Ashe
          November 18, 2011 at 5:04 am

          Yes, but you don't have to ask those questions for Windows. I was responding to the contention that Linux is good for those who want a free and easy OS. Linux is anything but easy.

      • Anonymous
        November 18, 2011 at 12:38 pm

        Cant agree.
        mp3 is installed with one click at install.
        Ext4 format and support is done auto by the Os while installing.
        Windows is not shipped with a PC half the time

        • Robin Ashe
          November 18, 2011 at 10:57 pm

          The last part is only true because it's shipped with the PC 90% of the time rather than half the time.

      • Sxpat
        November 18, 2011 at 11:13 pm

        The way I got into Ubuntu is after being forced because windows vista would not install in my system after a crash. I tried multiple times but failed. Ubuntu was a breeze. I don't get how these people face these problems.

        • Robin Ashe
          November 18, 2011 at 11:28 pm

          Unique hardware configurations. Some people have the first distro they install work without a hassle. Others need to try 10 different ones before one finally works. Most people though would give up after the first one doesn't work. You have to either be a serious geek and want to try Linux, or you need to have a situation where Windows isn't an option and you have to keep trying until you get it to work.

          That's the big problem with all these distros. There's a distro out there for everyone, that works just fine for them (if not for the lack of software available for Linux), but finding that perfect distro is like looking for a needle in a stack of needles.

      • Kobkoby11
        November 30, 2011 at 11:46 am

        To be honest, life someone said earlier, if you are seriously into Linux, doing these things(enabling mp3 and reformatting the hard drive) are not enough to deter you. in fact, it is now fairly easy to enable mp3 in Ubuntu. the only reason why it isn't supported out of the box is because mp3 is a proprietary format.

  89. shawnlanglois
    November 18, 2011 at 2:05 am

    Every point is perfectly valid. Linux doesn't have AAA games in the lineup. Many pieces of popular proprietary software don't run on it and equivalent Linux software is likely not as polished. Having thousands of distros to choose from can be daunting for those new to Linux.

    However, my one complaint regarding the article is that you don't present an opposing view, or describe what Linux actually does well. For example you list Unity as a negative and gloss over the fact that you can very easily change the Desktop Manager. KDE, XFCE, Gnome Shell, LXDE are all a few clicks away, and easily swapped through. All provide very different user experiences that may be more to your liking. Mac and Windows users have far fewer options in this regard. If they don't like the standard UI, they are hard pressed to change it.

    And while a lot of Linux software may not have the same polish as a Mac or Windows equivalent, there are a wide array of options that are free, installed with a few clicks, and have been carefully monitored. Which of course ties into security. While it's foolish to think that just running Linux gives you a blanket of security, it is by its very nature a more secure system that can be locked quite tight.

    Also, I think that you have to take into account just what the system is being used for. For a lot of people, computer use is a very simple affair. They want to browse the web, send some emails, poke their friends on Facebook, maybe make a word document or a spreadsheet every once in a while, or Skype with a friend. All of these tasks can be done just as easily on a Linux machine as they would on a Windows or Mac computer. While gamers or multimedia artists might be better suited with another platform, Linux can satisfy a very large segment of the population.

    I agree that Linux has rough patches, but then I would also say the same regarding Windows and OS X. Your points are all perfectly valid, but I think there is some missing context that could give a bigger picture to the wider situation. 

    • Taylor
      November 18, 2011 at 2:14 am

      At least in my experiences with Ubuntu, it comes pre-installed with all the goodies for the Average User (as you say, browse web, emails, poke friends, and so on).  A good web browser (either Chromium or Firefox), an instant messaging application, music software, and more.  It isn't all that Windows proprietary business, either.  No worries about Internet Explorer, Windows Media Viewer, Windows Messenger.  

      I haven't used Mac OS X, but as far as I understand it, it is pretty similar to Ubuntu in the pre-installed, all-set-up sense.  With nice, working applications that don't often give troubles.  I think that's a pretty essential feature, in my mind.

      Most people concerned with top of the line games wouldn't be too troubled to change the desktop environment, as they would be fairly familiar with tweaking options, which is what changing the DE basically is.

    • Robin Ashe
      November 18, 2011 at 4:17 am

      There's no need to provide an opposing view. There's no shortage of articles about why Linux is great.

    • Dave Hilling
      November 18, 2011 at 5:34 am

      I agree wholeheartedly. XUbuntu helped me breathe new life into a CRT iMac which I would still be using to this day if not for losing it in a move. A lot of older machines can benefit from running Linux for Grandma who just wants Facebook and email, and maybe solitaire. Of course, being free (libre, as in free speech) gives the advantage of developers being able to improve projects to kick a decent software into the level of AWESOME, such as with Rakarrack guitar effects software. However, the fact that everything is free (gratis, as in free beer) takes away the profit motive which leads to projects being abandoned more often than not.

    • Tim Brookes
      November 20, 2011 at 12:41 am


      Unfortunately I literally didn't have enough words left to write an opposing view, and as a commenter below has mentioned - there are a lot of posts about switching to Linux. I myself wrote one about a year ago after becoming thoroughly fed-up with Windows 7 refusal to recognise my license. I flipped and switched to the FOSS alternative, and whilst I no longer get bugged to buy the software I'm starting to think you get what you pay for.

      I have mentioned Linux's validity as a server within the article, and in the past I've written articles focusing on light distros for old PCs (and I even did a "switching to Ubuntu" article many many moons ago) but I guess I felt it was time for some balance. 

      I totally agree that much of the time Linux is an ideal solution for simple PC and internet tasks. It's safe, it's fairly bomb-proof and it doesn't cost. For serious users with tasks they want to complete - audio production, video editing, killing bad guys in Battlefield 3 - it's never ever going to cut the mustard (which is a shame).


  90. Taylor
    November 18, 2011 at 2:00 am

    As a note of interest, as of today in fact, Desura released their public Linux client.  It isn't Steam, but it is a decent alternative, although hosts more primarily indie games.

    As for new Ubuntu versions running more sluggishly, I have actually found that mine runs faster.  A clean install, rather than an upgrade, can make a difference.  But everyone has different experiences, especially with all the variation in hardware, but it certainly isn't an everyone-gets-slower thing.

    I use Linux as my OS.  I find more people say they don't like Linux than otherwise, though; this usually comes from someone who hasn't tried it, or had a bad experience.  Fairly certain everyone has had a bad experience with Windows, but with it so established, most people don't even think towards an alternative.

    • Tim Brookes
      November 20, 2011 at 12:35 am

      Thanks for the heads up about Desura, I will have to check it out. Your mentioning of a "clean install" of Ubuntu reminds me of my Windows 98/XP days when a clean install was more of a ritual than running virus scans or tidying up the registry!

      I'm fairly sure a clean install on at least one of my PCs would improve the situation, however I know for a fact that the same graphics and sound drivers would be used and thus performance would be pretty terrible compared to 10.04/10.10.

      My girlfriend uses Linux as her OS of choice after I started tinkering with Ubuntu a while ago. As many have pointed out for a simple web/email/DTP solution it's great, but even she's disillusioned and generally annoyed by the problems caused in the latest releases. Thinking of trying Mint next.

  91. Kevin Coyle
    November 18, 2011 at 1:56 am

    A lot of games will work with the use of Wine or crossover. Same with the office suite and some of Adobe's tools. With Linux Mint wine is installed as standard and it's really not that hard to install in ubuntu. The average modern computer user isn't as dumb as you think they are more than capable at adapting to the basic usage of tools such as wine or switching off unity. It's as simple as changing wallpapers in windows.

    • Robin Ashe
      November 18, 2011 at 4:23 am

      You're part of the problem though. The way you wrote that post is the same dismissive reaction that new Linux users asking for help face. It might be easy once you know how to do it, but first you need to ask for instructions, and what they get is remarks that they should be able to figure it out for themselves or go back to Windows if they don't like Linux, questions about why they'd want to do something, or get sworn at and told to RTFM.

      And changing wallpapers in Windows isn't something that everyone knows how to do. A lot of people can only do what they've been taught to do, and they learn how to use a computer through the support of someone with experience, looking over their shoulder as they screw up and telling them how to do it right the next time. That's something Linux doesn't come with. Aside from some places like FreeGeek.

      • Lagesvantner
        November 18, 2011 at 4:41 am

        To a large extent, you're right.  The Linux community will usually tell people asking how to do basic stuff to read the help, search the forums, etc.  However, Linux is primarily for people who want to learn.  The help functions and community forums are geared toward making learning as efficient and painless as possible and systems like Ubuntu or Mint could be run by the average user without opening a terminal or really needing to learn how to do anything (if you're only using it for basic office software, internet browsing, email, basic games, etc.), but, and I apologize if this sounds condescending, if you don't want to take the time to learn something new, then you're better off with an operating system that spoon-feeds everything to you like Mac or Windows.

        There's a saying I've heard a few times among Linux users:
        "Never be afraid to break something because, if you're doing it right, you will" (paraphrased).

        • Robin Ashe
          November 18, 2011 at 5:02 am

          Right, so either you have the case where someone just wants a free and easy alternative to Windows and get turned off by the toxic community (that can't get enough of distro wars and such), or you have someone who has an interest in learning and gets dismissed under the assumption that they haven't read the manual, when the problem is that the solution isn't there, or none of the solutions work (due to unique configuration or hardware issues).

          I'd say it goes as far as Linux users priding themselves in figuring out something that's too difficult for 99% of the population, and they reaffirm their position in the 1% with derogatory remarks to people who have problems.

        • Bret
          November 18, 2011 at 11:46 am

          I've been a Linux noob for a couple years now, never really having the time or inclination to delve too deep, which means I have a couple years worth of seeking help from more advanced users and I've never, ever been condescended. Ubuntu boards and especially Crunchbang and Peppermint users have been incredibly helpful and responsive. Strange.

        • Pat
          November 18, 2011 at 9:51 pm

          I totally agree.  I've been a Linux user for a couple years and I am constantly learning new things.  I usually end up asking on the forums or using the chat option for help.  I've never been dismissed or condescended by the Linux community. "Distro Wars"?, yeah, right.  Windows vs. Mac wars are more fierce. Maybe he was shunned because of the tone of his posts, but for today this has served the purpose of stirring the pot and getting people to reply to this article- thus making it more popular.  Windows 7 has a place on my PC- in Virtualbox under my Linux Mint host. 

        • Anders
          December 29, 2011 at 9:53 pm

          But there are two problems here.  Firstly, you can only get PC with MS Windows or OSX installed when you by it from major electronic stores.  So you, as a usual user, don't need to install the OS in the first place.  The installation is already fixed and done.
          While with Linux, you have to install it (if you not look into small stores where they sell you installed machines).
          I have had people selling computers in a major electronic store yelling at me for not want MS Windows Vista...

          IF you get the OS on the machine, there is much less trouble for the users with Linux (like Ubuntu).  It just works (tm).
          Here the problems is those who have been tough and having problem with a new environment. They would have trouble with a Mac, because it doesn't work like a MS Windows machine.

        • James Bruce
          December 30, 2011 at 11:46 am

          Ubuntu … "just works"?

          Like, it syncs with my iPhone? Like, it plays mp3s out the box? Or DVDs? And has no issues with my webcam?


      • Anonymous
        November 18, 2011 at 12:31 pm

        I think that Unity provides easy and fast enough UI for the newbie(people that cannot change their wallpapers) - once the OS in installed - All instructions should be move the mouse to the left, the home is for your files, the orange thingy is for facebook, and the other two beneath them are for text files and tables.  :)

        • Reeses
          May 7, 2012 at 9:56 pm

          Unity is user-friendly, but it's also very counter productive.

      • Jack
        November 19, 2011 at 11:13 pm

        " questions about why they'd want to do something"

        Yeah, these are the most annoying aren't they?
        Along with the ones that want detailed configs and debug logs when your question was "can Gimp read TIFF files" or something.

        • Anders
          December 29, 2011 at 10:01 pm

          If you ask "why doesn't it work", you get questions back.  If you give enough information so you can actually know what are wrong, you can solve the problem fast.
          If you can't even guess what is wrong, why spend time asking.

          A question like "ca GIMP read TIFF files" is prob. a "try to do it" or "read the manual" the right answers.  If you haven't tried to open a file, why should I take the time to answer?

          No, I am not rude to those who is nice asking questions.  I might even take time asking about more information.
          But if there are an arrogant dud who demand that I (we) answers his "important" question fast, I might get pissed and tell him in a short answer to get his act together if he want fast answers...
          Like yours...

        • Stoyan Deckoff
          May 10, 2012 at 6:38 am

          Helps and how-tos for linux are all over the place, but:
          1) Better do you homework first - search the answer before asking.
          2) Ask the proper question "how to make this work" and "why this is not working" are different questions, and receive different answers.
          3) Almost everything can be done - it took me two days to figure out my up arrow key is not working, just because I can easily re-map it under ubuntu. When I entered BIOS, just then I saw the key is not working there, too. Can I do it under windows with one line of code - I doubt it.

      • Boris
        May 8, 2012 at 7:14 pm

        Hi, my name is boris and i was a windows user for 10 years, all i learned in that 10 years is point and click, loading images and thats it. im using linux(ubuntu) for 2 weeks now, yes it has its small problems, but it does not lag out , it works fast , it does not slow down with time , in the past 2 weeks i learned more about computers, operating systems, server then i have in my entire life. From the basic commands in the terminal, ssh, ftp, putty, wine. all of them are so simple and the tutorials are so easy and simple. yes linux drives me crazy sometimes , and that is not the fault of linux, its my fault cause i dont know something, and not knowing has nothing to do with linux. i love linix , i love learning it, it makes me happy learning commands. linux is pure potential. the more you know the better it gets, windows on the other hand is bad if you want to learn more. all i know now is that i feel sad for not using linux earlier. either go sudo or die :D

    • Tim Brookes
      November 20, 2011 at 12:27 am

      Re: Wine and Linux.

      I've been down that road many times, and yes - you have a valid point, Wine isn't bad at providing some support. However, once you've configured Wine and managed to install the game/program you're after you then have to deal with instability and much of the time graphics or sound issues due to the fairly poor support Linux users have to deal with.

      Despite Wine being great at times, it doesn't fix the driver woes that many of us experience on a daily basis.

      • Sjaakiejj
        November 21, 2011 at 10:02 am

        "have to deal with instability and much of the time graphics or sound issues" 

        Whilst true in some cases, definitely not in all cases. If you're going to try to emulate DirectX 10, then it's almost a guarantee you'll get these issues. However, due to Wine emulating Windows XP with DirectX 9 primarily, quite a few games I've tried actually run better on Wine than they do on my Windows 7 installation.
        Lord of the Rings Online for instance has very frequent crashes on my Windows 7, whilst it has yet to crash a single time on my Linux installation.

        • Anders
          December 29, 2011 at 10:04 pm

          And some of the problems the Wine developers have is to find and implements the same bugs that exists in MS Windows. Not just the API.

    • Tim
      January 22, 2015 at 8:29 am

      This may be an old article that I just read, but I have to agree with you 100%. Windows pushed people to use linux because of their viruses and spyware that keeps creeping on their machine. I duel boot linux and windows on my machine, so I can access some of the window based only programs from time to time.

    • D Truax
      February 3, 2015 at 1:40 am

      Well, I'm an experienced Windows / Mac user and thought I'd learn about Linux by bringing an old laptop back to life (Dell Inspiron). Make no mistake, I'm a weekend warrior, a total newb.... I thought it might be an interesting learning experience. It was.

      But, after a couple months(!), trying a few of the "easy" or "lite" distros out there (Lubuntu, Puppy, Zorin, DamnSmallLinux, Mint), I have found the most ridiculously difficult barrier: Wireless connection to a network. Nothing seems to work.

      Although I'm not running it anymore, my most primitive windows box can easily connect to my wireless

      This is why Linux for the masses fails. The barriers are too high. Although I was determined and manged to get around countless(!) other "newbie" conceptual and procedural issues learning to configure Linux on one machine, it would be a whole new game using a new distro or new hardware. And things are CONSTANTLY breaking or won't install, or can't print, etc, etc.

      Metaphorically, I just thought I could tune up an old car's engine so that it would run well enough to get me to school--but I won't be wasting any more time trying to build an internal combustion engine from blueprints written in Elvish. I'll take my old Windoze POS and push it if I have to. At least I'll enjoy the walk. Or teach myself something more rewarding, like a foreign language, biochemistry, or the piano.

      GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!! Linux has defeated me; I hate Linux.

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