Thursday, December 14, 2006

Top 10 Linux problems

Here's an interesting result of a linux a distancia poll. Although there were not too many votes this poll is relevant and even addicted Linux users will agree with some of these problems (like I agree that Windows development process is out of control for example). English (partial) translation:

1. The worse Linux problem: installation of applications
Installation of applications in Linux seems to be its greater problem. People mention problems with the diversity of distributions, dependencies, conflicts with versions, compilation problems, etc.
2. Lack of drivers
Even if drivers exists people have problems in finding the version that corresponds to the distribution which they are using.
3. Deficiency of a standard
In many cases can be a true problem. The people suggested that when they become familiar to a distribution, the next version is totally different. Or when they change the distribution, the files are stored in other locations. Almost all the voters suggest the differences in the interface, differences in the availability of the commands and the differences in the configuration of the applications make difficult the learning of this operating system.
4. Problems with modems
This seems to be the device most complicated to run in Linux.
5. Linux is slow
21 votes mention that Linux is much more slow that Windows XP.
6. “X” applications
17 votes mention the lack of availability of applications for Linux. Particularly they stand out the lack of applications to use for web design, audio production, graphic design, etc. Also there were many commentaries of the type “lack good games for Linux”.
7. The GUI has deficiencies
With 14 votes, problems in the more popular visual interfaces as GNOME and KDE are located in the seventh position. Problems of usability, management, etc. appear in the descriptions of the users. Many people complain that “Linux does not order the icons automatically”.
8. Problems with printers/new hardware
Printer appears like the second device more difficult to use in Linux. Other 13 votes suggest the “new hardware” is practically impossible to install/use in Linux.
9. Linux is seen “ugly”/“is difficult to use”
11 votes suggest Linux is seen “ugly” compared with other operating systems. Other 11 votes suggest simply “is more difficult to use that Windows” without giving too many explanations of the cause.
10. Problems using the scanner/complicated File system
Scanner seem to be another one of the devices most difficult to run in Linux. Finally, 10 votes suggest the Linux file system is “too complicated”.

Personally I agree with 1, 3, 6, 7.


Anonymous said...

1. in most cases it's simpler than in windows - you don't have to search apps - just type in console: sudo apt-get install APPLICATIONS_NAME - wow.. that was hard...

2. in some cases yes, but there is situations when windows can't recognize hardware or needs drivers from cd/internet, while linux doesn't

3. What about different windows versions? For example Desktop folder in win98 isn't located in the same place as win2000. It's not a *problem* when you have CHOICE.

4. haven't heard, cannot comment

5. it depends on distribution/desktop environment. some are slower, some are faster

6. There are *a lot* of different applications, some are even better than windows versions. games - yes, but linux is more for a serious people who don't play "good games" (i believe these are meant to be those big DVD games)

7. in windows there are only 1 (ONE) file manager/gui/..., while in linux there hundreds to choose from. while you have to buy most of the nice skins/themes on windows, in linux they all are free

8. sadly, but true. at least i didn't make my printer work (because of drivers)

9. see nr 7

10. scanner - i don't have one, so cannot comment on this. Too complicated? It's because all windows users have used win since the begining. I agree, that file system is confusing from the first sight, but it's pretty logical

sorry for my english, it's not my native language.

Anonymous said...

It is unfortunate that the first response of a linux user to constructive criticism is rebuttal (often foolish, as above). I think that the above list hits the main issues pretty well.

In response to the above comment.

1. Many users would prefer to avoid the command line altogether, so "just type in console" is a poor start. That said, Ubuntu's packagement management is great and Debian's is adequate. Conversely, the package management systems of Redhat and SuSE are utterly miserable.

2. Okay, I suppose sometimes that is the case, and sometimes people leave Las Vegas richer than they came. Most of the time Windows handles hardware better. While many factors contribute to this problem, I am particularly frustrated by the kernel developers' continued condemnation of binary-only modules. I personally see the argument the modules are derivative works and therefore copyright violations as nonsense. I, as many, would like to see chest-thumping and ideological rantings replaced with a dedication to software that just functioned properly.

3. Again, I think this is an excellent point. The Linux Standard Base never really went anywhere, did it? Regarding the above comment, who would ever choose to be confused and disoriented by their operating systems configuration scheme? A choice is only of merit if it provides alternatives that each carry separate functionality and tradeoffs, not if exactly the same thing is accomplished in an unfamliar manner.

4. Don't know, wouldn't surprise me.

5. This is sometimes true. I've found the KDE startup time painfully slow, though I heard this is being worked on.

6. Of course, there is a genuine lack of professional-quality desktop software for linux. I suspect that many of these programs will only become available when (if) larger companies feel comfortable developing software for linux. Good software doesn't require commercial backing, but it is helpful particularly helpful with larger projects.

7 and 9. Windows Vista and Mac OS X are looking dapper these days, though both KDE and GNOME seem to be catching up. In response to the above comment, how is the situation improved by the choice between multiple desktop environments, all of which are perceived as subpar?

10. I don't really understand the perceived complexity of the file system (layout?). I'd have to have more information to understand what was going on.

At any rate, I wanted to explictly go through all of the above comments to make a point. There are real issues with linux that can and should be addressed. This doesn't mean that Windows (or whatever) is better than linux, it simply means that there are things to be improved. It should not be assumed that any user that stumbles into these problems is simply too stupid to "get it." The above comment is condenscending, foolish, deluded, and unfortunately representive of many linux users' attitudes. It would be a better world (and operating system) if these types of concerns were given geniune consideration.

(Just for the record, I am not a Windows fanatic of any kind: I use linux as my primary desktop as well as for several servers that I keep going. I am not a novice: I am currently employed as a software developer for a major corporation. Lastly, I am not new to linux: I've used linux for going on eight years. But I won't let my appreciation for linux blind me to its rough spots).

Anonymous said...

Thank you Anonymous. (December 15, 2006 5:14 AM ) I wish Linux developers were so considerate and understanding.

I'm a C# programmer.
I am trying to switch to Linux (and to Java). I have had and am having some bad experience with Linux. Hopefully a developer will read this and take it to heart.

I am trying to switch to Linux since Readhat 6. It did not install. Just freezed.

Readhat 7.3 crashed on installation: video driver.

Mandrake had the same problem.

Suse 9 installed but I couldn't install any application. I still had to 'mount/unmount' the CD drive. Ridicules in 2003!

Centos 4.4 erratically freezes during install. Yes, i did check the medium. Finally I managed to install. It continued freezing erratically. I tried it on two different boxes - same problem.

Centos 5 - I am struggling with it currently - reports IO-APIC-kernel panic. (Dual core AMD 4200/GA-M59SLI-S5MB) It would start installation in 'noapic' mode but freezes upon selecting the keyboard. Installing with 'noapic noprobe' goes further but then it doesn't have the raid drivers. I guess I could somehow burn a CD with the drivers then ... no, that is the limit, I am not interested in fixing it. Goes in the bin.
To rub it in, on the same box Vista installs and runs smooth as the baby’s bottom.

When i was 16, we took the cylinder head off the Holden on a weekly basis. And cleaned the carbie. Then put it back together. We loved it.
I passed 50. I am not interested to take things apart anymore. I want to produce an outcome. Linux - on the desktop - is not suitable for that. It is not a production platform. It's a toy, a modern Holden that boys can take apart and put back together.
This is all fine with me; after all, it's their –the developers’- toy. What is not fine with me is that they present it as if Linux was better than sliced bread and I am stupid not seeing that. No dear Linux-Developers, you are not God's gift to mankind. You are just kids playing with their toy.
You may love your toy and that is fine. The rest of us however votes for Windows. The market penetration contrast between Win and Linux speaks for itself.
When you developed the toy to a useful level I am - and the other millions - will be ready to join the game.
Please do not say that it's free software. First, it takes countless hours to troubleshoot it in order to make it working. Then it takes more time to learn how to install applications. (Although there are developments on this line there is a lot more to do. Centos 5 upgrade is a prime example.) Time is not free. It is either taken from the family or from work when I could produce more income. Time is not free!! And it's not fun either! A hammer that I have to fix every time I need to use it is not a good tool. It's not fun either.
And finally -Mr. Developer- I don't want to rip you off! I am ready to pay for your work! Just make it working.


Anonymous said...

In response to number 1 about package management. I agree it's terrible. The dpkg database is fine etc, but there are problems with dependencies which you dont see in Windows because all packages come with all the DLLs required for that program to run, and they all store them in the programs folder (in general I know some go into system32 etc).

The other thing that bugs me about linux packaging, is that although the maintainers do a great job with the repositories, the biggest issue is that you can't just go to a website of some program you like and download an installer which has all the required files in it to run. You have to search the repositories, and hope someone has packaged it for you, if not you're outta luck, then there's the issue of the repository software is out of date!

So if you want to get the very latest version of a program in linux, you cant most of the time, you have to wait for someone to package it up, you cant just go "ooo the latest firefox has been released I'll download a copy right now and play around with it.

Beojan said...

In response to the C# programmer,

Learn that RPM-based distribution generally don't work. Try Debian or Ubuntu (Ubuntu recommended). Also, the modems that don't work in Linux, it's because they are winmodems. This means it's more of a soundcard that connects to a phone line than a modem. Since the companies refuse to support linux drivers, they don't work. Most drivers for linux are made by volunteers reverse-engineering the hardware, not by the manufacturer. If the manufacturers supported Linux equally as much as windows, the problems would disappear.

Anonymous said...

In my personal experience I was a Windows user. but after too many year of using OSs like
Win2003 Server

We decide to try another alternatives(at a industrial environment and home/desktop environment), like linux.
well.. I did download an UBUNTU cd image.
and after booting it, the OS loads up perfectly, all the hardware including printers was automatically recognized.
without inserting(CD) or downloading any driver.

and this in many different PCs, whit all kind of hardware, from Dell servers to normal CPUs.

the way to install the apps was extremely easy. Just "Applications" menu
and "Add/Remove apps"
in just 3 clicks you can install apps.
in windows was not so easy as in ubuntu.

so. well in production environment we found better results with Linux, using JAVA for example, it was 15% faster. talking about desktop, some games like GTA San Andreas runs faster and with less resources using Wine(tool that helps to run windows apps in linux)
another like Dreamweaver, photoshop Microsoft Office runs in linux to.

And when we talk about security Linux rotundly kill windows(talking about my experience)
I don't know why windows is so vulnerable and all the time have so many TCP ports opened.
In two years using Linux there have been 0 security issues.

well talking about standards, the IEEE(Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers)
designed POSIX the Portable Operating System Interface,this is the collective name of a family of related standards specified by the IEEE to define a application programming interface (API).
which all linux distros have.
In the same sense windows is not compatible with any of these standars
only OSs like MAC OS(Apple), Solaris OS(Sun), all linux distros etc...

well, I am very happy with Ubuntu.
I was a little afraid to the change, but you have to know two products to choose one.
Windows Vista is a toy, Ubuntu is a real OS.

Anonymous said...

Apparently one way to "improve" your Windows skills is to simply lie about it's competition. Sure Linux doesn't enjoy as much application support, but it also doesn't "enjoy" Zango, bargin buddy, or fill in the blank malware or virus. I'm a fan of Windows but after installing the latest Fedora and all of it's extra features - I saw how an operating system is supposed to look. I had four burning applications, audio editing tools, OpenOffice, and a whole bunch of tools.

This article seems devoid of insight and is nothing more than a cheap means for trolling.