Deprecated: Non-static method Comment::form() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/pcrozier/public_html/spanner/core/core.template.php on line 2717
16 March 2008
Linux: not ready for prime time

What is a girl to do? 

For years the only man in town was Gates the Geek, William of Washington, the Seattle Straight.  OK, so his mane was mangey and his clothes didn’t fit but you kind of knew where you were with him and his Blue Screen of Death.  He was Old Unreliable.  But there was one thing you could count on: you’d be compatible.

But now, things seem to be going wrong.  Vista’s Vista seems to be no better than Vesta’s Vista.

Time to check out other suitors?

Well, the’s always beeen Mac.  He’s pretty, he works hard but he’s a bit like the Church of Scientology: culty and expensive.

Step forward Linux - the Finn to Win.  He’s the exact opposite of Mac: he’s culty and inexpensive.

And yours truly is nothing if not a skinflint. 

So, one brave morning, I decided to give Linux a try.  And after a few days I came to one clear and indisputable conclusion. As far as Linux is concerned:


Oh, it claims all sorts of things about itself but getting it to work can only be described as “interesting”.

In the Chinese sense.

For instance:

  • It wouldn’t load onto my disk despite there being plenty of space.
  • When it did finally load the resolution was so poor I couldn’t see the OK
  • buttons
  • The screen had an atrocious flicker
  • I couldn’t connect to the internet
  • I couldn’t get Opera to install
  • I couldn’t get Flash to install on Opera
  • The search facility doesn’t work
  • WINE crashes the whole computer
  • Actually, lots of things seem to crash it.  And they complain about Windows.
  • The text rendering is poor
  • In fact, all the graphics are a bit naff.

Now on the last few points, I shouldn’t really criticise: these are amateurs and it is possible I’ve got a duff version.

But there were a sufficiently large number of problems to make me suspect that it’s going to be a good while yet before Liunux is a true competitor to Windows

PermalinkFeedback (6)Technology


  1. Where did you find this?
    It sounds like the sort of trolling that’s been appearing on usenet OS advocacy groups for years.

    Posted by knirirr on 17 March 2008 at 12:50am

  2. The thing is, Linux is GREAT when you know what you’re doing with it, and you’re doing things that Linux is good at doing.  It’s still not great at being as easy to use as Windows.  All those problems are solvable.  Screen resolution and refresh rate, for example, normally requires you to edit the file /etc/X11/xorg.conf and learn about Modelines.  Which is great if you know where to start…  Some distributions are easier than others.  Ubuntu was know to be quite easy last time I checked, which was a while ago.

    As for Vista—give it a try.  I use it every day for office, web and games (admittedly on a machine with a quad core CPU and 2GB of RAM) and have never encountered a problem.

    Posted by Rob Fisher on 17 March 2008 at 03:05pm

  3. One problem is that there’s Linux and there’s Linux. People try one distribution, it doesn’t work and they say Linux sucks. It’s like coming to a conclusion about television after watching one episode of Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps.

    I love Linux, but until recently Ubuntu simply refused to install on my machine, and Mepis shut down my monitor. I don’t know why; Mandriva and Arch work perfectly.

    Try a few different distributions: despite what I’ve said, Mepis is good for beginners (if it works for you), as is PCLinuxOS. Linux Mint is an even friendlier Ubuntu; Opera should work better there (it’s proprietary software, which is why the more hardline distros don’t like it).

    And yes, font rendering sucks on nearly every distro. It’s perfectly possible to get it working really well, but for some reason no distro I’ve ever used enables the required options by default.

    Posted by Sam Duncan on 19 March 2008 at 09:36pm

  4. Thanks for this.  I’ve calmed down.

    Having said that, the abundance of distributions is in itself a drawback for Linux and I think the title of this article still stands.

    Posted by Patrick Crozier on 23 March 2008 at 11:47am

  5. I now use Linux, on my little Asus Eee PC, and of course it works fine, given that I won’t be doing anything peculiar with it.  The key point being that I didn’t install it.  Proper computer people, greedy to make lashings of money by avoiding major cock-ups, installed it, and made sure everything worked okay.

    Pre-installed Linux is surely a far bigger commercial deal that Linux installed by geeks on their individual machines.

    Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 23 March 2008 at 11:25pm

  6. I think the title of this article still stands.

    Do you mean that it is not suitable for use by an average computer user with no technical skill? If so then I am not sure that the title does stand. In my experience of supplying such users with Linux machines the main problems they have had are:

    * Installing the OS themselves. But, pre-installed systems are available and they can always ask people like me to do it for them. It’s no worse (and often it’s better) than installing Windows.
    * The desktop does not look exactly like Windows, and they can’t be bothered to make any effort to get used to the differences.
    * The wish for software that they use on Windows and for which they cannot or will not find a replacement. The usual culprit in academia is Endnote.

    None of these is really a serious problem. It’s common to deploy Linux desktops on university systems (at least in departments I frequent) and the non-technical users have no problem using them.

    Posted by knirirr on 24 March 2008 at 10:05pm

Commenting is not available in this weblog entry.