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10 Things I Hate About Linux

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(khess)
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It's hard for me to admit it but there are things, ten things to be exact, that I really hate about Linux. Sometimes I think it's just me but I do see other people stating a few of these in the forums so I'm at least not alone with some of these issues. These are in no particular order and they aren't just rants; they're legitimate problems and issues that I find annoying, destroying or cloying. Feel free to add your own to the list in the Comments section.

1. Too Many Good Distros - I hate the fact that it's so hard to choose among all the distributions (distros) to use. It's almost impossible to settle on just one for daily use. If you've seen my "10 Best Linux Distributions of 2009," you'll know why--they're all good. When I looked for a distribution to use for myself--other than virtualized ones, it was next to impossible. I finally decided on CentOS because of its basis in Red Hat Linux. It was a matter of familiarity. For most other server-oriented things and appliances, I use Debian--the King of Distributions.

2. Lacking Popular Application Support - No, Linux doesn't need to run Microsoft Office and I know about OpenOffice.org but still there's a barrier to application support for Linux. Now, a lot of the lack of application support isn't because of Linux necessarily but if you're a software company like Intuit, which distribution do you support? Do you support SUSE and alienate Red Hat, Debian, Ubuntu, Slackware and others? Or do you offer your application in several different formats and in source form? It's a difficult, if not impossible, task. Maybe if all the distro maintainers would get together and come up with a single package format but that will never happen.

3. Dependencies - Whether I'm compiling from source or installing individual packages, there seems to be a never-ending list of dependencies that I have to satisfy before I get to install my original software goal. Often I forget what it was that I started when I get buried in dependencies. Yum and apt-get help considerably in this area but they aren't perfect. On server systems, I often like to compile my apps for better support and performance so I have to spend hours downloading, compiling, satisfying dependencies for those dependencies and so on and so on. The solution isn't easy since developers will often use a diverse list of software in their own but it would be nice if they would just go ahead and package the dependencies along with their software since I'll need them anyway. I know sometimes there are license restrictions but if there are such restrictions, use a different package.

4. Rancid Fan Base - I know that the fan base isn't part of Linux but goodness some of these people are absolutely mouth-foaming and borderline crazy. Even a longtime Linux fan and semi-expert like myself, will receive hate mail about something I said. It's incredible how many "experts" (who have vehemently opposing opinions) I run into when giving my analysis of something Linux-related. I don't mind when people comment intelligently but all too often I just get weird and rancid commentary. People who think of things like Linux as a religion bring a certain 'extremist' flavor to the mix. It turns off a lot of people, not just me.

5. Linus Worship - Many of the fans mentioned in #4 above fall into this category as well. People assume that Linus Torvalds created free software and that Linux was all his idea. What they (and possibly you) fail to realize is that ideas are built upon by many people over time. Linus used Minix as a template in developing Linux though he decided to use a monolithic kernel instead of the microkernel architecture of Minix--he still had a head start by using it as a design "go by." It was actually Richard Stallman who first came up with the idea of a GNU (Gnu's Not Unix) operating system based on all free software while Linus was still in diapers. This is one reason why Stallman insists on Linux being called GNU+Linux.

6. Anti-Linux Nerds - This is a generally ill-informed group of Windows fanboys who'd rather spend their time complaining and grinching about which they know very little and contributing nothing of value to either Linux or Windows. My favorite batch of do-badders is over at linsux.org. Though not directly related to Linux, without Linux they'd only have the Mac OS to rail against and that loses its luster pretty fast, since those sandal-wearing, ponytail-sporting, Prius-driving, one-button-pressing Mac addicts are far too intellectual to bring themselves to respond to such drivel. I, however, am not--I do like a good fight. Keep 'em coming linsuxers--you provide me with plenty of posting fodder.

7. Unchattiness - This hate derives from Linux' Unix origins. Unix isn't chatty and therefore Linux isn't chatty. We should really change that. For new users, this is especially annoying. The unchatty nature of Linux is often one of the major barriers to Linux adoption among the masses. Although they don't know what to call it, that's what it is: Unchattiness. There's no "Abort, Retry or Fail?" and no "Are You Sure?" prompts to guide the user. Linux, like Unix, assumes you know what you're doing and it lets you do it. This is bad. Really bad. We need more than just a nice, sleek installer and a cute Windows/Mac-like desktop interface, we also need some feedback about what the hell we're doing when we're doing it. Come on guys, make it chattier or else. Or else I'll complain some more.

8. Built-in Virtualization - What's up with this? Built-in virtualization--right into the kernel. Now there's an innovative and bold move to be sure. KVM has been included in the kernel code since kernel revision 2.6.20. I don't have a problem with virtualization being built into the kernel but I'm wondering how they chose KVM over OpenVZ? OpenVZ seems like more of a natural fit, if you ask me, because it is container-based virtualization better known to the world as BSD jails. This type of virtualization comes standard with Solaris, OpenSolaris and the various BSD derivatives. I don't hate built-in virtualization. I hate the fact that OpenVZ isn't also part of the kernel. It would make sense to do so.

9. Software Repository Trickery - I hate that there's a lot of non-free software hidden in software repositories that you can be tricked into installing without any warning or knowledge. There should be separate repositories for non-free components and a warning when you install those components. Installing those components without my knowledge or approval is a violation of my freedom. See the Free Software Foundation (FSF) information for details. Before someone takes away your freedom, you should be warned and have the choice to refuse the software.

10. Stability - This is an odd hate but hear me out on this. For eight years, I owned and operated a computer consulting business and whenever I converted parts of my client's infrastructure to Linux, I basically hurt myself. I hurt myself by giving them something so stable and unbreakable that I found myself wondering why I had done such a silly thing. Oh, it was good for them. They didn't have to call me that they had a virus or other software weirdness on their systems nor did they have to call and say our system just rebooted and knocked everyone off. The time I spent automating their tasks with shell scripts, PHP and Perl was for naught--at least for me it was. It wasn't until I had several of my clients on Linux that I realized what I had done. I was killing my business. After I woke up, I decided to let nature take its course and allow them to use their beloved Windows and I would cash the checks.

Do you have any Linux hates to complement mine? Add yours in the Comments section.

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SilentLennie
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Their are some I don't directly have an answer for, but some I do:

2. The distributions like Fedora (and I presume RHEL and thus CentOS) and Ubuntu Suse, Debian and many more are starting to ship the same package-frontend system for on the console in KDE and GNOME, it's called PackageKit. So that's a start, maybe someone will add 'alien' to the system eventually and solve that last problem.

3. I usually use distribution-provided ways to compile, like using a pre-compiled backport (for a Debian server) or dpkg-source/dpkg-buildpackage which will handle all the depencies.

7. I think things are improving on the desktop, but maybe that's just me. :-)

8. The reason OpenVZ (or Linux-VServer) weren't accepted in the kernel is because the way they didn't wasn't considered the right way to do it. So a number of years people looked at what should go into the kernel and it has been created and many parts are already in the kernel, the project is called Linux Containers or LXC for short ( http://lxc.sf.net ). It already works quiet wel. I think most parts are their. Their is a 'driver' for libvirt ( the library for the virtual machine manager ) as well.

10. I don't know if that is a real complaint, but I think the trick is to find more clients. happy clients makes for good word of mouth. or you could extend on your services, adding networking. And expanding your knowledge that way as wel. Doing the same thing all the time makes you 'dumb'. Or start (go work for) something like an ISP were stability is something which is an absolutely necessity just to do business.

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pcunix
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I only disagree with Chattiness - and if you leave the command line out of it, I'm fine with that too!

"Stability" hits home. More than once my wife has asked why I don't do Windows, because that's where the money is. Why don't I just sell drugs or produce porn - there's money in those things, right?

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felixion
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disagree

1) too many good distros?
I seriously do not understand why is this something hateful, it's a great advantage to count on options. If you abstract yourself for linux, saying the what you are saying does not make any sense.

3)because of dependencies Linux is a leaner system, this is another advantage.

5) So you hate that some Linux users call Linux Linux instead of a more appropiate name GNU/Linux to give actually credit to the GNU project...again there's nothing that make Linux especially hateful, there's hateful windows users, unix users, mac users, car drivers, bike riders...you get the idea?

6)Live your life happily, if there's people you think they're wrong and if you have got the time, try to help them, but then again Linux is not responsible for this, and therefore should not be hateful!

7)Yeah fair enough, you need to know a bit of stuff, instead the system does not make all the assumptions and you get something a bit more personalised...what's hateful about this?

9)I run debian, I install ubuntu in my family members computers, and I always get a warning if I am trying to install software that is non-free.

10)A super stable system, that overall works super, does not give much issues, and you could go forward and could say makes society more productive...uhm...I am having a hard time trying to imagine a way of this being hateful.

sincerely,

Gonzalo

It's hard for me to admit it but there are things, ten things to be exact, that I really hate about Linux. Sometimes I think it's just me but I do see other people stating a few of these in the forums so I'm at least not alone with some of these issues. These are in no particular order and they aren't just rants; they're legitimate problems and issues that I find annoying, destroying or cloying. Feel free to add your own to the list in the Comments section.

1. Too Many Good Distros - I hate the fact that it's so hard to choose among all the distributions (distros) to use. It's almost impossible to settle on just one for daily use. If you've seen my "10 Best Linux Distributions of 2009," you'll know why--they're all good. When I looked for a distribution to use for myself--other than virtualized ones, it was next to impossible. I finally decided on CentOS because of its basis in Red Hat Linux. It was a matter of familiarity. For most other server-oriented things and appliances, I use Debian--the King of Distributions.

2. Lacking Popular Application Support - No, Linux doesn't need to run Microsoft Office and I know about OpenOffice.org but still there's a barrier to application support for Linux. Now, a lot of the lack of application support isn't because of Linux necessarily but if you're a software company like Intuit, which distribution do you support? Do you support SUSE and alienate Red Hat, Debian, Ubuntu, Slackware and others? Or do you offer your application in several different formats and in source form? It's a difficult, if not impossible, task. Maybe if all the distro maintainers would get together and come up with a single package format but that will never happen.

3. Dependencies - Whether I'm compiling from source or installing individual packages, there seems to be a never-ending list of dependencies that I have to satisfy before I get to install my original software goal. Often I forget what it was that I started when I get buried in dependencies. Yum and apt-get help considerably in this area but they aren't perfect. On server systems, I often like to compile my apps for better support and performance so I have to spend hours downloading, compiling, satisfying dependencies for those dependencies and so on and so on. The solution isn't easy since developers will often use a diverse list of software in their own but it would be nice if they would just go ahead and package the dependencies along with their software since I'll need them anyway. I know sometimes there are license restrictions but if there are such restrictions, use a different package.

4. Rancid Fan Base - I know that the fan base isn't part of Linux but goodness some of these people are absolutely mouth-foaming and borderline crazy. Even a longtime Linux fan and semi-expert like myself, will receive hate mail about something I said. It's incredible how many "experts" (who have vehemently opposing opinions) I run into when giving my analysis of something Linux-related. I don't mind when people comment intelligently but all too often I just get weird and rancid commentary. People who think of things like Linux as a religion bring a certain 'extremist' flavor to the mix. It turns off a lot of people, not just me.

5. Linus Worship - Many of the fans mentioned in #4 above fall into this category as well. People assume that Linus Torvalds created free software and that Linux was all his idea. What they (and possibly you) fail to realize is that ideas are built upon by many people over time. Linus used Minix as a template in developing Linux though he decided to use a monolithic kernel instead of the microkernel architecture of Minix--he still had a head start by using it as a design "go by." It was actually Richard Stallman who first came up with the idea of a GNU (Gnu's Not Unix) operating system based on all free software while Linus was still in diapers. This is one reason why Stallman insists on Linux being called GNU+Linux.

6. Anti-Linux Nerds - This is a generally ill-informed group of Windows fanboys who'd rather spend their time complaining and grinching about which they know very little and contributing nothing of value to either Linux or Windows. My favorite batch of do-badders is over at linsux.org. Though not directly related to Linux, without Linux they'd only have the Mac OS to rail against and that loses its luster pretty fast, since those sandal-wearing, ponytail-sporting, Prius-driving, one-button-pressing Mac addicts are far too intellectual to bring themselves to respond to such drivel. I, however, am not--I do like a good fight. Keep 'em coming linsuxers--you provide me with plenty of posting fodder.

7. Unchattiness - This hate derives from Linux' Unix origins. Unix isn't chatty and therefore Linux isn't chatty. We should really change that. For new users, this is especially annoying. The unchatty nature of Linux is often one of the major barriers to Linux adoption among the masses. Although they don't know what to call it, that's what it is: Unchattiness. There's no "Abort, Retry or Fail?" and no "Are You Sure?" prompts to guide the user. Linux, like Unix, assumes you know what you're doing and it lets you do it. This is bad. Really bad. We need more than just a nice, sleek installer and a cute Windows/Mac-like desktop interface, we also need some feedback about what the hell we're doing when we're doing it. Come on guys, make it chattier or else. Or else I'll complain some more.

8. Built-in Virtualization - What's up with this? Built-in virtualization--right into the kernel. Now there's an innovative and bold move to be sure. KVM has been included in the kernel code since kernel revision 2.6.20. I don't have a problem with virtualization being built into the kernel but I'm wondering how they chose KVM over OpenVZ? OpenVZ seems like more of a natural fit, if you ask me, because it is container-based virtualization better known to the world as BSD jails. This type of virtualization comes standard with Solaris, OpenSolaris and the various BSD derivatives. I don't hate built-in virtualization. I hate the fact that OpenVZ isn't also part of the kernel. It would make sense to do so.

9. Software Repository Trickery - I hate that there's a lot of non-free software hidden in software repositories that you can be tricked into installing without any warning or knowledge. There should be separate repositories for non-free components and a warning when you install those components. Installing those components without my knowledge or approval is a violation of my freedom. See the Free Software Foundation (FSF) information for details. Before someone takes away your freedom, you should be warned and have the choice to refuse the software.

10. Stability - This is an odd hate but hear me out on this. For eight years, I owned and operated a computer consulting business and whenever I converted parts of my client's infrastructure to Linux, I basically hurt myself. I hurt myself by giving them something so stable and unbreakable that I found myself wondering why I had done such a silly thing. Oh, it was good for them. They didn't have to call me that they had a virus or other software weirdness on their systems nor did they have to call and say our system just rebooted and knocked everyone off. The time I spent automating their tasks with shell scripts, PHP and Perl was for naught--at least for me it was. It wasn't until I had several of my clients on Linux that I realized what I had done. I was killing my business. After I woke up, I decided to let nature take its course and allow them to use their beloved Windows and I would cash the checks.

Do you have any Linux hates to complement mine? Add yours in the Comments section.

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cornellgreen
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I've got a few:

*) Command-line machismo - the "never met a GUI I didn't hate" attitude. I mean, just because you CAN do it on the command line doesn't make it better

*) Ghastly GUIs - having just said the above... even KDE & Gnome still look... kinda late-90s-ish. And don't get me started on horrid screen fonts...

*) Dead-end apps - ever Google a really interesting application, track it down to SourceForge... only to discover that it's *vaporware*, and even the friggin' description hasn't been updated in years. Sometimes makes me wish they'd adopt a "no code, no post" rule

*) Too much choice - How many window managers do we need? How many shells? How many different journaling filesystems? It's part of the whole "lack of standards" thing... you may not love Macs or Windows, but they almost make you respect the TOOWTDI (There's Only One Way To Do It) approach -- in *some* things...

Cornell Green
CIO
21st Century CommunIT Solutions
http://communit.us/helpdesk

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sureronald
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I agree with you Ken Hess on these 10 points you have raised. Some of the things that make me hate GNU/linux completely is dependencies when compiling software from source.
Another thing is the linus worship. Most people I have seen tend to believe that linus is everything and is always referred to as creator of the kernel. RMS is the father of GNU/Linux!

And to all those who fall under linus worship, remember: "don't just say linux, say GNU/linux", RMS says it doesn't take even a second of your time to say this. It helps a lot in making people understand the real story behind this free operating system GNU/Linux.

Long live GNU/Linux!!

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Druyx
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Nice article, its good to read about the con's of Linux without being spilled from the mouth of some windows or mac fanboy. Its articles like these that help make linux better. For me the lack of standardization is the biggest issue. As a developer myself, it just simply takes too much effort to ensure an app work 100% on every distro. For personal use, I don't have a general preference for linux or windows (Mac I just hate outright). I'm dual booting Ubuntu and Windows XP at the moment. Ubuntu I use for development and other work related tasks, xp for fun stuff like games, movies and music. When I set up application or web servers, Debian always seems like the right way to go.

Now I know most of the fun stuff can be done on linux without the usual hassle but still, I grew up mainly using windows so I'm better suited to the gui for the simpler things in life. Plus directX games just don't work properly on linux and I'm not spending anymore time trying to get them to, life is short enough thanks!

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ricegf
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Cornellgreen: Ghastly GUIs? I'll buy that Gnome (my usual desktop) looks a bit dated, but KDE 4? I've played with it in VirtualBox, and it looks every bit as polished as those commercial OS's to me, especially the smooth fonts and scalable icons. But I'm no artist; beauty is in the eye etc. etc.

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gugo123
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I only agree with point 9 and I know nothing about point 8.
Everything else is due to your insufficient knowledge and maybe too much fuzziness (for instance point 1 Too Many Good Distros - is it a joke to complain about that? This is true freedom! In Win you don't even have a choice. Do you also complain about too many cell phones?)
BTW I'm using ArchLinux and never got any big problems when compiling programs from source (in 99.9% it's also not necessary).

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trdyer
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I will say GNU/Linux when people stop saying M$ or windoze, winblows etc.

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Mike_AR
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your problem, my Friend
is the human race, the people, the world, THE UNIVERSE!...
not Linux!

enjoy your freedom (or use Windows 7)
=o)

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nileshgr
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There's a tool available for conversion of different forms of packages to your desired forms. Its called alien. It can convert from .rpm, .deb and possibly others to .tar.gz form.

For the dependencies part:

If all package makers start including deps in their packages then users who have the package already will be downloading it as a waste. This would increase expense on both sides- the user and the developer.

The solution for this is the configure script should detect if the dep is present or not, if absent, download and build it then return to this and built it. There are some packages which have this implemented.

Stability: Yeah this is a thing if you were a Windows technician sometime before. You should do something like Redhat - System Maintenance (If they don't have qualified admins! :D)

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Saster
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I hate both Gnome and KDE. Gnome is written by geeks to morons (what geeks think users are), KDE is messy, gaudy and unstable. I used Gnome for years, now I'm struggling with OpenSUSE's buggy KDE 4.3 ...

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Crash~Override
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I like the last part of your comment! Stability! Awesome

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Saster
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IMHO 'Kaput' will be the last KDE application.

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quazar
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I hate old dated, past century, plain gray, ugly GUI's. Come on!! we are in 21th Century, bring in more polish to the GUI. When I want to show something to users, they generally complain about the interface's look and no more. I know developers don't care about that saying you can change that after and focuses on performance, stability, usability et all, but if you are going to produce a "Desktop" distro for average Joe, then give more polish to the thing!!

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petter5
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Regarding #6 anti Linux nerd, I saw the linsux.org site. I looked up the site at netcraft.com and interesting enough, the site runs on LINUX ! !

http://toolbar.netcraft.com/site_report?url=http://linsux.org

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nileshgr
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@petter5: that's obvious of most common sites you encounter on the www.

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Guest09237
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#7 is dead on. I've installed Ubuntu or other distros on less capable users machines when all they need is e-mail and web browsing only to come back and find out they did something and didn't have anything to stop them (not even an "Are you sure"). That being said, Vista and Win7 went too far...

#10 And here I thought "someone who does their job well should eventually have to find a new industry" was a goal to be revered...

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ruel24
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I hate that I can install an 8 yr old version of Microsoft Windows XP that was bought the first week it was released on my Core i7/X58 chipset system, but can't install a Linux distro that doesn't have, at least, kernel 2.6.27. Why? Why can Windows be written so that the CD boots and the OS installs on a system built 8 yrs after the OS, despite there is no drivers for the chipset on the XP disk, but Linux can't? I couldn't even fathom trying to boot Mandrake Linux 7 on this system. This is something that frustrates new users that have very new hardware.

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