I like Linux. I’m running Ubuntu 7.04 on my server and I have 7.10 as a dual boot on the system I’m typing this on. It’s powerful, it’s less virus, malware, & crash prone, and I have an almost infinite amount of control over my system. Plus, anything is better than running Vista (previous OS on this system). However, there are a few problems that I have with it and that I feel keep it from being a major player in the OS market.
Of course, every OS has problems. Windows has too many to list and OS X has that damn beach ball.
Right now, these are the problems I see with Linux:
Lack of applications or alternatives to applications. From what I see, there is little to no support from major software vendors for Linux, and even when their is, the software is either buggy or a half-ass translation of the Windows software. And a good chunk of the FOSS available for Linux is either still in beta, would never be usable to anyone other than an engineer or doesn’t address the hole filled by the Windows software it’s trying to replace. Or, there’s no replacement available at all.
For example, I have a program, GRLevel3, that I can’t get to run under WINE, nor can I get it to run under Windows running in Virtual Box. Unfortunately, I have NOT found any Linux alternative for this app. The same can be said of Quicken. There is no real alternative to that under Linux. I’ve tried GNU Cash and KMoney and neither one is as good as Quicken.
Hardware Support. On my computer I have a sound card that is apparently only partially recognized by the system. I found this out when I was trying to use Skype. While the OS and ALSA can address the card, for some reason Skype could not. I had to use the iMic that I bought for my laptop to get Skype working. In my personal opinion, I should not have to do that. I should have the support for my card in all applications. I’ve also seen my video card fail under versions of Linux other than Ubuntu, because the driver they think will work with my card doesn’t. It renders me unable to do things like start an X server.
Stuff doesn’t work out of the box. Want to play an MP3? DVD? Windows Media or Quicktime file? I did and I had to install Automatix to download additional software for that, and let’s not even get into the legalities of actually playing a DVD on Linux. Though, I hear this has somewhat changed in Gusty.
Too much reliance on the command line. If Linux ever wants to really make it to the big time, everything, and I mean everything, needs to have a GUI on it. Microsoft hasn’t required the use of the command line since 1995 and Apple has never required use of a command line in the Mac OS, even though terminal is available in OS X. While I have no problem typing something like
make make install
ps x | grep [program name]
The fact of the matter is, my grandmother probably could not. Hell, I know my girlfriend even has problems with the command line. You know, in Windows or Mac OS, installing an application is as simple as clicking on setup.exe or dragging it to your applications folder. I don’t have to worry about searching for it, making sure I have a .deb and not a .rpm, there’s no compiling, etc. Same for the second part of that, terminating a frozen program in Windows is as easy as Control+Alt+Delete and going to the task manager, on the Mac, it’s as easy as right (control with 1 button mice) clicking on the offending application’s icon in the dock and saying “Force Quit”.
Anyway… The point to all this is that I’m not ready to completely switch over to Linux. So I think for the time being, unless I can somehow get GRLevelX & Quicken to work on Linux I’ll stick with my dual boot configuration of XP Pro and Ubuntu Gusty .