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Why Linux is Annoying


  12:27:02 am by wdawe, Categories: General, linux , Tags: linux

Some days the heavens open up and a bolt of enlightenment strikes you right between the ears. I work in a mixed Linux and Windows environment and she blurted out "Linux is annoying" or something similar. When I asked her to expand she explained that it annoyed her because it was different than what she was used to and that is what annoyed her. I can understand that, nothing is worse than thinking you know how to do something on a computer and then realizing that you are incorrect. No one wants to feel stupid and even at the best of times computers and software can annoy me. For better or for worse Windows has trained people to do things in a certain way and doing them in a different way is going to make them annoyed. Opening a terminal window and typing a command is completely alien to people who have grown up on Windows based operating systems. In a Windows based operating system actions are always initiated with the mouse, the keyboard is used for text entry. There really isn't any point in trying to convince people to use a command line interface, the ship has sailed and it's necessary to live with the new reality. Those who are working on Linux need to understand this, it doesn't matter if they think their method is better, the more they can make their operating system behave like Windows from the user perspective the more likely they are to be able to convince Windows users to at least give it a try.

If the current shift to web based applications, smart phones and netbooks continues continues the choice of operating system may become a moot point. The promise of Java to "write once/run anywhere" may come to pass as we access more and more services through a web browser. Perhaps the reason I find Linux not to be too annoying is because I already do so much with web based tools. I've written blog posts through the browser on my Blackberry, I use browser based tools to administer my MySql databases, browser based database applications. I long ago gave up running a mail program instead using browser based email clients first from Yahoo and now from Gmail.

I read an article today about running C and Python code on the web in a Flash virtual machine. The open question is whether this is any more promising because of the Adobe Flash vs. Microsoft Silverlight feud that is underway than the Sun Java vs. Microsoft Java wars that hobbled Java's adoption 10 years ago. Adobe isn't targeting Alchemy for new projects but instead suggesting it as a way to run legacy code in a secure Flash environment. I burned off about 15 minutes playing Doom in Flash compiled from the original C source.

That's for the future, for now Linux will continue to be annoying because it's really more of a concept than a product. The product is the distributions and they are generally inconsistent and incompatible with each other. Unless you are going to compile from source with the minefield of library issues that may entail there is no guarantee that any Linux package will run on your system if it isn't included in your distributions repository. Far too complicated for your average computer user, isn't it? For now your best chances are probably with Ubuntu, if you are ready to take the plunge good luck.

1 comment

Comment from: Dreyeth [Visitor]

As a follow Linux user, it is delusional to think that people that realize Linux is completely annoying ‘just can’t come to grips on the ways that Linux is different’.

Everything about the operating system is annoying at one time or another, I use it because its free, keeps malware out of my system, and its customizable, and I can get it not directly vendored by a corporation (though tons of them are involved in it).

Writing in a undocumented programming language to switch you’re default sound card in /etc/asound.conf is beyond screwy.

Crawling across the internet to put together pieces of undocumented behaviors to get your keyboard layout working on the grub © prompt isn’t fun, though after 3-4 years I’ve finally found the documentation I was looking for posted on a couple forums.

Installing you’re boot loader by configuring a file called boot.conf that supercedes /etc/default/grub because someone had to add another layer or wheel on top of the problem is another annoyance.

And my pet peeve is Linux’s permission system interacting with mounted file systems, I might as well just su all the time because thats where I’m going, I shutter to think of what using this system would be like if you wheren’t the administrator.

I once heard someone say that a operating system that continually requires you to enter a root or administrator mode to circumvent authority to get every task done cannot be secure and its completely true.

I’m waiting for something to curb stomp, Mac, Windows, AND Linux, and hopefully its free software.

Maybe someday someone will rip the proprietary guts out of Android (and actually replace them rather then just ripping them out like Replicant) and make a general purpose operating system for PC, Tablet, or Phone out of it using the Linux kernel but trashing most of the userland.

08/29/16 @ 07:10

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