Beranger is right

I never thought I’d write a post with a title like THAT. I’ve read a lot of articles written by Beranger over the years, and at the moment I can’t remember a single one where I didn’t disagree immediately. But upon reading his latest post, with his announcement to switch back from Linux to XP, I can’t help thinking that he has a point.

Of course, in my opinion he’s also wrong about a lot of things. I don’t think that Linux has gotten WORSE over the past few years. In fact, installing and using the average Linux distribution has never been this easy. I also think there’s way too much yelling and profanity and bold text and supposed to be funny cartoons in his article for it to be taken seriously…but that has always been the case. And last but not least, I really don’t think that Windows, ANY Windows version, does a better job of providing a decent OS at the moment.

But I have become a bit frustrated with Linux on the desktop in the last months, for my own reasons. For example, installing and using Linux is easier yes….but maintaining it? Not so much. The focus has shifted from editing textfiles to using GUI tools…in my mind, not a good thing. They’re never as stable or as complete. I’ve hit quite a few “okay, that doesn’t work. So what am I supposed to do now?” problems lately. Also, it used to be that I could use a Linux distribution for 6 to 12 months and not hit one single problem. Not the case now. Ubuntu 8.10 was released with a bug that closed the CD tray as soon as you had opened it….and the latest two releases of Ubuntu would not install on the desktop of my ex, the last time because of a problem with the desktop effects.

I think the focus of the Linux distributions is wrong these days. It has shifted from stability and being feature complete to ease of use and worse, look and feel. I’m not against ease of use per se, but without stability it means exactly nothing. Easy GUI tools and a flashy looking desktop are useless if the stability of the system takes a hit. Mind you, Linux SHOULD look good. But things like Compiz, desktop effects, plasma…be honest here. They’re icing on the cake, not the cake itself. A default look should be clean, simple and more important than whatever you can add to it. Look at the KDE 4 desktop, where form rules over function. I don’t mind the way it looks, I don’t have anything against Plasma, or against widgets…but I’m not using it until Amarok and K3b are available for it. Right now, it’s useless for me.

Another example: gaming in Linux is still a disaster. Take Warcraft 3 for example. That’s an old game, so I’d expect Wine can handle it without many problems. Well, sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn’t. It depends on the distribution, the wine version, the kernel version, and the nvidia driver version. I could play Warcraft 3 in Wine happily with Ubuntu 7.04 and 8.04, but not in 7.10 and 8.10. In 7.10 I actually had to patch the nvidia drivers and install the manually with every kernel update. 8.04 appeared and I was happy, because things worked! 8.10 came out and…well…black screen of death.

And yet another one, taken straight from Beranger’s article: “One of the major needs for a modern desktop, that is hibernation, is not of major interest for the Linux kernel developers, no matter Windows had this for a very long time. As a consequence, hibernation (suspend-to-disk) and sleep (suspend-to-RAM) is a constant hack under Linux, and once you got it working, you’ll never know whether the next kernel or the next distro release will break it or not (most likely, it will break it again).” I agree with every word of that.

Also, where’s the speed difference between Windows and Linux these days? It USED to be there. Windows booted faster but worked slower. These days, Win Xp still boots faster but has somehow caught up in terms of speed after boot…which is of course impossible. Instead, the Linux distributions have become slower, even the ones that are supposed to be small and fast.

That’s why I reinstalled XP on my PC…but just for gaming. I won’t make the mistake of letting Windows anywhere near the internet. On average, I find the Linux desktop distribution much less frustrating to work with than Windows, be it Vista or XP.

But…well, at the moment, it’s like I’m choosing the best of two bads. I’m very much looking forward to the day that KDE4 will be usable for me, to Gnome 3, to Windows 7, in the hope that I’ll get a stable, easy, attractive and fast Operating System.

A guy can dream.



6 Responses to Beranger is right

  1. Sloboz sa te bata says:

    Wow, you’re such a gigantic thing. Also, nobody on the internet cares about your opinions.

    gb2reading tux machines, you other thing. And increase the font size of the text inside the comment editing box. Oh, right, you can’t, since you can’t even afford a motherloving domain name and decent payed hosting.

    Next time you think your hippie opinions matter, put a bullet in your brain.

    edited out some of the naughtier words 😉

  2. Hi San,

    You designed your post’s title for troll, isn’t it? ^^

    About the post itself, I’ve quite the same opinion on Beranger’s post.

    About playing Windows games on Linux, do know PlayOnLinux ? It’s a frontend for Wine that tries to ease its use for games (but not only). It doesn’t support all Windows games yet (but some day ^^) but at least, the classic ones like Warcraft 3, World of Warcraft or Counter-Strike will work, whatever distribution you use.


  3. Rob McGuire says:

    Wow…. you must have really struck a nerve with Sloboz to get him riled up like that!

    I agree with you on your views about Windows and Linux. I have been a Linux user for years and recently switched to Vista for my own reasons. I think Linux is great, but it just has some catching up to do in order to become a viable desktop OS.

  4. mithbre says:

    Try Arch Linux. The install is all command line based, it boots fast (around 10-15 seconds for me), and is optimized for an i686 system unlike ubuntu and the like (usually optimized for a i386 system).

    As I said, it boots fast, from around 10 seconds if I have a couple of usb devices plugged in to around 15 or so seconds If I have about a dozen plugged in. This includes starting up the framebuffer. I am then greeted by a very simple command line based login (of course this can be changed).

    In other words in about 30 seconds after my computer finishes POSTing I can have Firefox open with a few tabs loading.

    Also one last tidbit, it has a rolling release model, no need to download a new cd/dvd every 6 months, just open a terminal and type “pacman -Syu”.

  5. IceBrain says:

    You don’t like GUI configuration and prefer a sober Desktop over the flashiness, and you use Gnome or KDE?!

    Linux is about choice: You can use flashy GUIs with Compiz and Gnome/KDE or you can use a sober, text-configured Window Manager like Fluxbox or Awesome.

    I use Awesome and the only configuration file is a Lua script, which describes everything from “widget” position, behaviour and looks to keybinds. You can even program new Lua functions and assign them to new text or bar widgets.
    But this is for those who want a geekier WM. Those who want a simpler, dumbed down WM can choose Gnome or KDE.

    As for hibernation, the kernel developers are planning to include new systems, but the problem is that there’s two options and divided opinions. I for one like TuxOnIce, but today you need to compile your own kernel to install it (no, it’s not a good solution, hopefully we’ll get past that).

  6. […] sokkal később (többek között) Celettu is csatlakozott Bérangerhez: “Bérangernek igaza van. Sohasem gondoltam volna, hogy valaha egy ilyen című cikket […]

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