Goodbye Linux

Like the crib project that received its 4th coat of varnish today, Linux is another subject I’ve let run cold. Actually, its run cold for a good reason. I’m no longer using Linux.

It’s not that I dislike Linux. If I had to run a web server, Linux would be my first choice. If I had to run any kind of multi-user system, I’d choose Linux. But that’s not what I’m doing. I’m doing your normal home-computing stuff, and that’s where Linux is challenged the most.

The pro-Linux folks will tell you that you can do everything in Linux that you can do in Windows. Mostly it’s true, in a technical sense, but not always in a strict cool-to-use sense. The interoperability between peripherals and the system is still primitive in many cases (including my Epson multi-function printer) and everything always seems to require just a bit of tweaking. Not a lot, and not more than most people should be able to handle, but enough that I never got to a place where being able to do a particular thing in Linux quickly was something I could count on. Sometimes you want your computer to be a hobby, and you enjoy it. Sometimes you need it to be an appliance. In these cases Linux tends to fall short. Still, it is, and should be amazing that a free product should be comparable to one you have to pay for. In what other industry can this be done?

If I had more time to spend on it I’d probably still be using it. If I didn’t have a wife who has to be able to use my computer, I’d probably still be using it. In my current situation it just didn’t work. I tried, I kept at it for a while. I even wrote that I couldn’t hardly remember using Windows much anymore, because I hadn’t needed to print any photos, or scan anything, or any other of a small number of things at the time. After a while the thrill wore off, and when I just needed to get something done and done quickly, I ended up in Windows.

One thing that surprised me was how much the lack of visual design in Linux disturbed me. Linux is a distributed development, and each application has it’s own look & feel. Some are quite good, some aren’t so good. Some are very techno-European, and some are just a bit primitive. At first this is campy and fun, and makes it an adventure. After a while you start to yearn for fewer fonts on the screen, more consistent colors and frankly just a more pleasant and consistent visual experience. 

Of course, I’ve got a nice alternative to Linux. Windows XP is as good as it gets in the Windows world, and if I was stuck in Windows Mostly Excrement, or in 95 I think Linux would be superior.

I would like to end this with a request: If you’re one of those people who haven’t tried Linux, give it a try. You may not “switch”, but the experience is interesting, and it’s no longer that painful from a technical perspective. At the least, it will give you something to talk about and will expose you to world you haven’t seen. At the most, well, you’ll switch 😉

One thought on “Goodbye Linux

  1. I used linux for about a year and i too am going back to windows, linux is a really great operating system, but it lacks in some of the most important areas. Hardware and ease of use. Stuff like adding a stick of ram or something require a recompile of the kernel, while in the windows world it’s a lot easier.

    I feel the same way, if i was ever going to make a server linux would be on the top of the list, either that or freebsd.

    Another thing that made me switch back, is the amount of distro’s, yes like they say choice is good, but too much choice is bad it’s hard to actually find a quality distro, in my whole time using linux i switched through so many distro’s i just had enough and decided to go back to windows.

    Excuse my horrible grammar. 😉

    Like

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