Why Linux Isn’t As Good As Everyone Makes It Out To Be [Opinion]

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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 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 – 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.

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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 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 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 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.

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Comments (165)
  • Cody Wasser

    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.

  • Chriss RE

    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

      “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.

  • Maurizio Mezzatesta

    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.

  • Lowell Sochia

    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.

  • Michael Mason

    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.

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For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
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