.. I stumbled upon a blog post that explained 11 reasons why Linux sucks. John Morris, the author of that post, outed himself as a Linux lover – and so am I – for more than 20 years. But enough is enough. The Linux of today is unbearable.
I started with Linux 0.94 . That was back in the days when uptime was measured in hours, not in years. Whatever we needed, we knitted ourselves. Device drivers weren’t modules, we coded, complied, re-booted, panic’ed and tried again and again. And we enjoyed Linus’ style back when he had to circulate an .au file explaining to us how he thought “Linux” should be pronounced. Linux was more than an operating system at the time where any serious Unix installation was at least $2,000 or $3,000. It was the environment we grew wings in. The Internet would not have happened without Linux.
So here’s my addendum to John’s list of reasons why Linux sucks:
Reason #12: Linux tries to be egg-laying and milk-giving wool-pig
This is how people call something that tries to be everything .. and fails. Linux is already the most used operating system in the world – it runs on the majority of servers on the Internet, the Linux kernel powers Android phones and I wouldn’t be surprised if you could get a bash prompt on a cruise-missile. It literally destroyed almost all commercial Unix environments – though it was not Unix in the strict sense of the meaning – it was the better (and cheaper) Unix anyway. But it was never seriously able to compete against Windows or MacOS on the Desktop. All efforts to make Linux more “Desktop” friendly made it just more complicated and much more difficult to manage – thus threatening the position it has on the the server market.
Reason #13: Bugs don’t get fixed in a timely manner
If you ever had to deal with a multi monitor setup, you grew a few gray hairs in the process. Icons get randomly pushed around, screens get lost, Desktop managers crash. Some bugs are known since 2012 or earlier. It takes patience, determination, hours of time and a bit of luck to end up with an “acceptable” result. Sure it’s more fun to bake new features into a program or environment. But bug fixing should be priority.
Reason #14: No overall design philosophy
Every operating system, even MS-DOS, has or had some sort of an idea what it wants to be and how to approach and maintain the general idea. For most years, Linux followed the Unix philosophies of keeping stuff simple. But somewhere – somehow people decided that this wasn’t good / fast / streamlined or “object orientated” enough and the came up with systemd. This was a radical change of philosophies down to the core that required massive changes to the Linux environment,to the applications and to the ways admins and users “worked” their machines. It also split the user base and though most users and admins have been forced to accept systemd, they are not happy. Some have jumped ship and installed BSD on their servers or changed to devuan. I am not saying that the old ways were better. But Linux more or less followed the general philosophies of Unix for the first 20 years. It has now left those guardrails and ventured into unexplored territory. We’ll see where that is going to lead us to.
Reason #15: GNOME
Remember that weird Gnome 3 desktop folks tried to push down our throats a few years ago? This project originally started in part to offer alternatives to the proprietary Qt widget set which was popular at the time. But it has pretty much (again) morphed into something that resembles an egg-laying and milk-giving wool-pig. It now runs it’s on virtual file system, manages users passwords and much more. It’s way of configuration is cryptic, it stores most data in un-editable binary format and pretty much does what it wants most of the time. Even experienced Linux admins nowadays shrug their shoulders when asked if one really needs to run the Gnome “at-spi2-core” , “goa-daemon” or “gnome-shell” processes. The Gnome “feature creep” has reached critical mass.
Reason #16: We blew it ..
.. we .. as in we the people (or .. we the users). Because (and I include myself) we didn’t gave a fuck about the development of “our” Linux. We wanted it to be cool, to support all those hardware modules, we were happy as long as our network card, our graphics adapter or software ran and we didn’t care much about those folks who actually did the work. We didn’t resist the growing influence of commercial interests who are often calling the shots today. Red Hat, Google and a number of companies are footing the bills of a lot of Linux development projects. And as usual .. money talks.
I see Linux at a cross road. Will it continue down the “egg-laying and milk-giving wool-pig” road like Windows? Will we see forks that moderate the feature creep virus down to acceptable levels? Will we (the users) take our favorite operating system seriously enough to found and/or sponsor an organization that helps us to model “our” Linux within some form of guiding principals? Or will more people abandon Linux on the desktop for Windows or MacOS – and move their servers to some BSD flavor? Again – Linux is currently *the* most used operating system in the world. But that can change.