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Zeikcied

The stigma of Linux

The idea that Linux is only for people who love the command line, who know how to program, who are IT specialists, really annoys the hell out of me.  It really does.

If you've tried Linux and had a bad experience, let me ask you this: Have you tried it in the past five years?  Or the past three?

I first tried Linux back in 2003, with Red Hat 9, Mandrake 9/10, and Debian.  It was a very bad experience.  Back then, RPMs, which was used in Red Hat and Mandrake, didn't have a central repository.  And Fedora, Red Hat's replacement, was already released.  So finding Red Hat 9 packages was a nightmare.  Plus, you had to find all the dependencies yourself, which was a huge mess.  Mandrake wasn't much better, and had the exact same issues.  Then I tried Debian, but I couldn't configure a GUI.

Three years later I decided to try Linux again.  I got a Kubuntu disc, I popped it in my machine, and it just worked.  So in December 2006, I made the full switch.  I did have a severe bug or two for the first couple years.  But those bugs were eventually sorted out.  I haven't had any major issue in at least three years, if not longer.  Probably more like four years.

I don't like using the command line unless I really have to.  I know a little C#, but no other programming language.  And while I guess I'm pretty good with computers, I'm not an expert.  I still turn to Linux help forums whenever I have a problem.

My mom has been using Linux for a few years.  She knows how to do email, web browsing, and word documents without any problem, but that's about it.  She's about as casual of a computer user as you can get.  And she says Linux is easier than Windows.  She never touches the command line and wouldn't know how to program Hello World even if given a tutorial.  But she can use Linux.

My problem with those statements mentioned at the start is that they can often scare away people who are curious about Linux.  They help perpetuate a negative image of Linux.  And to be completely honest, they just aren't true anymore.  Linux has made big strides in the last five years in terms of usability.  No, it isn't for everyone.  You still need to come into it with enough enthusiasm and patience to get past all the differences from Windows, as well as any problems that may come up.  For newbies, stick with Ubuntu, its different flavors, or its derivatives (like Mint).  Stay away from Slackware, Gentoo, or Debian.

Most distributions allow you to run their install disc in LiveCD mode, which creates a usable environment in which you can test the distro.  This lets you know if everything is working.  If it works in LiveCD mode, it will almost certainly work when installed.  While Linux will just work on most desktops, laptops are a lot trickier.  And yes, I said that Linux will usually just work.  For a majority of people, you won't have to dive into config files, the command prompt, or any of that hardcore stuff people had to deal with ten years ago.

For some reason people have in their minds that Linux is for the hardcore group and has never and will never get any easier or any more accessible to the casual desktop market.  They assume that what they hear about Linux is absolute truth without trying it themselves.  They assume that any negative experience they had in the past holds true no matter how many years have passed.  And it just isn't fair.  It's not fair to Linux users, it's not fair to Linux itself, and it's not fair to people who are curious to try it.
Viewed: 80 times
Added: 5 years, 8 months ago
 
Kuto
5 years, 8 months ago
have you tried ubuntu, its beautiful
Zeikcied
5 years, 8 months ago
I run Kubuntu.  I've always preferred KDE, honestly.  Not a fan of GNOME, and I can't say I'm all that eager to try Unity.
Arkanos
5 years, 8 months ago
I use windows for the no-fuss/no-muss gaming support.
KichigaiKitsune
5 years, 8 months ago
I dual boot for this reason. I keep a clean, healthy Windows partition, with Steam, and boot to Windows whenever I want to play any games. For everything else, I use Linux now (recent convert).

Works great. It's like having a console. :D
Zeikcied
5 years, 8 months ago
With Steam on Linux now, maybe you won't need Windows at all at some point. :D
Zeikcied
5 years, 8 months ago
I use Wine (or more specifically Crossover) for gaming.  Maybe not as much once Valve gets more of their games ported natively to Linux.  I've been obsessed with TF2 lately.

Wine has gotten so much better with games in the past few years.  Can't say every game will work flawlessly.  Many won't.  But there are a lot that will.
Arkanos
5 years, 8 months ago
The problem is that I need any, ANY, random game to work, and flawlessly at that.  I can't be havin' with broken gaming.

I see linux as an important platform for people working on a budget, or even just wanting something more secure and the like... but for gaming, Windows is still(unfortunately) king. And I'm too lazy to dual boot... or turn my computer off.
Arkanos
5 years, 8 months ago
Also, that's really the strongest argument in favor of linux. It's the most secure OS. Any kind of attack on a system has to be, in general practice, specifically targetted. Zero-day exploits aren't guaranteed to work across even a small range of systems, let alone a large one(unlike Mac and Windows)...

It's always been my opinion that Linux is best for the security-conscious, and the security-bad... but neither of those cover me. I don't do anything important, I don't visit unsafe websites, and I know how to keep my computer safe(safe enough).
KichigaiKitsune
5 years, 8 months ago
Why am I not surprised to see this journal pop up here? XD
Zeikcied
5 years, 8 months ago
Because I was getting too frustrated seeing all the comments in Looq's journal? XP

Ugh.

Like I said, it's not for everybody.  I just hate the stigma that keeps getting perpetuated.
Catwheezle
5 years, 8 months ago
Young girl I know (mid teens) had a laptop, out of warranty, windows installation completely mullered, no rescue disk. I installed Linux on it, and it did everything she needed it for (internet, email, ICQ and other IMs, wordprocessing for homework, youtube, facebook games, listening to music, and so forth).

She said she found it easier to use than Windows, and got *immense* geek-cred at school, laughing to me that she had boys fawning all over her :D
Zeikcied
5 years, 8 months ago
Must have been an older laptop?  Support for laptops can be sketchy.  I have Kubuntu on my Uncle's laptop, and somehow when I upgraded to 12.04 from the previous LTS, the touchpad scroll got broken.  His laptop has a thing where you can slide along the right edge of the touchpad to emulate a scroll wheel, but it got borked in 12.04.  No idea why.  I really should bump my thread on the Kubuntu Forums.
Catwheezle
5 years, 8 months ago
Yeah, it was at least a couple years old at the time, since it was out of warranty.
DusXMT
5 years, 8 months ago
I don't know which kernel update it was, but they changed the scrolling from sliding one finger on the edge of the touchpad to two fingers anywhere on it (At least on my laptop). I have no idea why.
Zeikcied
5 years, 8 months ago
But the touchpad configuration still has that option.  I turned off two-finger scrolling because he was hitting the touchpad with two fingers without meaning to and kept scrolling the page when he didn't want it.  I'd still consider it a bug.
mewvg
5 years, 8 months ago
I really want to try Linux, I've been told its a lot better than Windows for running for day/weeks at a time, since I rarely want to waste time in rebooting to get rid of twenty duplicate processes of Window's basic functions.

The only coding language I know is html, and I'm not very tech savvy, so I'm not sure if it's such a good idea to jump on the Linux OS.
Zeikcied
5 years, 8 months ago
You still have to reboot Linux every so often, but only when you install a kernel update or update some other core package like that.  There are hacks that exist to even eliminate that, but I wouldn't advise it.

Linux isn't that hard, really.  As long as you're willing to learn a few quirks, you should be fine.  Just make sure you make use of a Linux help forum if you get stuck.  I'd suggest trying Ubuntu, Kubuntu, and Mint to get a feel of which GUI you like and which one works the best on your system.
Arkanos
5 years, 8 months ago
Counterpoint to Zeikcied; If you run your Windows-install right, weeks-at-a-time is entirely easy. The only time mine ever reboots is when MSoft pushed a priority-update out, that forces a reboot. I have that same desire to never reboot, and I stick with it. It might also help that I have 24gb of ram, though. I don't experience slow-down problems until I'm up to 90% usage, and that's over 20gb. :)
mewvg
5 years, 8 months ago
I have 8G of RAM on my laptop, so running it for a week or two makes it grumpy XP
phyrexfirestorm
5 years, 8 months ago
the task manager is your friend. ^_^
phyrexfirestorm
5 years, 8 months ago
To be honest, i find ubuntu to be very similar to the MacOS system (about MacOS 8-X, imo). Not hard to learn, smooth interface, and you can even find an EXE interpreter for it, so you can run windows apps. My only prob with ubuntu is, as stated, the laptop support. It may not run, even when installed correctly.

Kubunt, however, is far more streamlined for use (to me). Almost identical to MacOS X, with support for mac/eindows apps thru interpreters. It may take a moment to get used to the gui, but it's great to use for data recovery in the event your system crashes.

Overall, you shouldn't knock it till you try it. The benefits of branching away from mainstream OS's is huge, and it will help you later on when microsoft is charging $500+ for their crap, and you cannot afford to buy it. Besides, MS needs to be put in their place, and this will do it. It will improve their products, i shit you not.
Zeikcied
5 years, 8 months ago
I guess I wasn't totally clear?  I do run Linux.  I use Kubuntu (still with 12.04).  I'm just ranting about the stigma and how it's not really true anymore.
phyrexfirestorm
5 years, 8 months ago
Lol. I understand how you interpreted this, but I have to tell you that I wasnt actually directing the last bit towards you, but to the community as a whole. I had posted it by phone, and when I realized how it might have been taken, my phone died. I figured I would add a bit to it later when I woke up, but you beat me to it, lol.

I apologize for the confusion, though. that was entirely my fault.
Krechevskoy
5 years, 8 months ago
I've yet to be able to get a copy of any Linux distro to work on a laptop which has exe support (I have tried on 6 machines)...

Though if you don't plan on doing anything higher end with it, then yeah, Linux is pretty simple and easy to use.  Really, even with that said, once things are setup it is pretty simple.  It is just a matter of getting things working in the first place.  I've had some success on desktops, but really it can be a pain in the ass to get the variety of software that I use...

I still have tried modern distros, and I've dual booted at times, but I haven't been able to get things where I can make the transfer.  Too much stuff that doesn't work/requires far too much setup.  More often than not, I was simply annoyed that it increased my boot time by asking me to pick my OS, when I would almost always choose Windows, or I would have to stop everything to switch back to windows....

That said!  For the heavy majority of users, Linux should be perfectly fine out of the box, and after a few days everything will be fine.  Setup for gaming or Windows exclusive software will be a pain, particularly on laptops, but if you don't need/use those things much, it is worth giving things a try.
Shokuji
5 years, 8 months ago
I'd imagine that most people would be fine with the functionality of Linux. Though, aside from web-based companies, I'd imagine most businesses aren't too keen on moving to Linux.
sedkitty
5 years, 8 months ago
I'm using Linux right now, and have been since kernel version 1.0.
I'm such a nerd. :)
rnixon
5 years, 8 months ago
I started with Linux on kernel 0.9pl13, when you got a kernel, a shell, and a compiler. (For the record, it takes four days to compile XFree68 on a 25 MHz machine with four megs of RAM.) I most recently tried it about three months ago.
 
I stopped using it regularly when Windows 2000 came out and Windows was reasonably stable. Because I was tired of futzing with things.
 
My last two experiences: On a desktop, nothing fancy. Most recent: Downloaded Sabayon. Booted from disc. The live disc worked okay, but installing failed no matter what I tried. Time before that:  Installed Ubuntu. Install went okay. Rebooted. It wanted to install proprietary video card drivers. Okay, I let it. Then it wanted to update packages. Okay, I let it do that. It wanted to reboot. Okay. ... and then I no longer had an ethernet card. Somehow, the standard 'update' function broke the ethernet driver.
 
Could I have probably fixed both issues, eventually, by scouring forums? Yeah. But I couldn't be arsed. It didn't work, screw it.
 
I like futzing with computers as a hobby. Hell, I own and use an Amiga, still. But I don't HAVE to screw with it to get it to work. Same with Windows 7 on that PC, or Snow Leopard on my Mac.  
 
Or, to put it another way, the ways that Windows and OS X suck annoy me, personally, less than the ways Linux sucks.

(And they all suck.)
Arkanos
5 years, 8 months ago
You decided that Windows 2000 was the stable version? >_>

Also, if you think all Operating Systems suck... honestly, you're being too picky. They each have flaws, that's all.
rnixon
5 years, 8 months ago
Windows 2000 was the first NT-kernel version of Windows that was really usable as a home system. Meaning, it had DirectX and would run games as well or better than Windows 98 did.  NT4 was certainly stable, but dualbooting NT and 95/98 was a pain in the butt and if I was dualbooting anyway, might as well be Linux/98.

And it was certainly stable. I averaged uptimes of over 100 days, after the 'patch of the month' period. I generally only rebooted for driver updates after the first couple years, and didn't switch to XP until after 2005, when I wanted to run a game that didn't work in 2000. (It was actually a Win95 game, but XP's DOS-based Windows compatibility was actually a smidge better than 2000s. Not much, but it was there.)
Zarpaulus
5 years, 8 months ago
I downloaded Chrome OS onto a disk and tried to run it on my laptop, wouldn't work.
esanhusky
5 years, 8 months ago
By "wouldn't work" are you saying it wouldn't even begin to install, it installed and didn't First Run, or it locked up somewhere in the install process?
Zarpaulus
5 years, 8 months ago
I would restart and boot from disk and it would freeze.
esanhusky
5 years, 8 months ago
RedHat used to do that to me all the time back in the day.  That's why I initially tried SuSE.  It could also have to do with the GUI.  Some systems balk at Gnome, but run KDE fine, others vice-verse.

Chrome probably has its own proprietary GUI, so you might want to try another flavor if you really want to check Linux out
Zarpaulus
5 years, 8 months ago
Not exactly helping to disprove the stereotype about Linux users.
Zeikcied
5 years, 8 months ago
Laptop hardware support is spotty.  Can't really help that.  Some distros work better than others on certain laptop hardware.  Things are much better supported on the desktop side of things.

There are Chromebooks, netbooks pre-installed with Chrome OS, so if you really want to use it you can check those out.
esanhusky
5 years, 8 months ago
Would it help if I explained that GUI stands for Graphical User Interface (which is what early Windows was, a graphical interface in front of the MSDOS "backend")?  And that KDE and Gnome are the names of two such things?

Yeah, I know...I've been out of the culture for a while, but I still suddenly start speaking geek without warning.
esanhusky
5 years, 8 months ago
I used to use SuSE (now openSUSE for non-enterprise, read "still free") exclusively until I got my first iPhone.  Now, I'm ashamed to admit, I haven't booted into Linux for a couple years.

Yes, it has gotten to the point that anybody that says Linux is for a hardcore elite is either a part of that hardcore elite and don't realize just how much the graphical GUIs have evolved or hasn't seen Linux since at least 2005.  There are still a few hardware devices that don't install easily, but as you say, if you get stuck, your answer probably exists on a forum somewhere and they'll even talk you through the Command Line if necessary.
Shokuji
5 years, 8 months ago
I think I've only ever tried Linux once like 10 years ago. X3 I'm sure as more things move that way, and more people decide to use it rather than Windows/Mac, it will hit mainstream and 'stir the pot'. Hopefully it will be real competition and force Microsoft & Apple to work harder for their money.
Zeikcied
5 years, 8 months ago
The people who bug me the most are the ones who say that Linux will never become a player in the desktop market because of its difficulty.  It bugs me because of the nature of Linux.  Just because no one has yet made a distro that the layman can use doesn't mean that no one ever will.  In the strictest terms, Linux is just a kernel.  Android uses a modified Linux kernel, thus Android is Linux.  And I don't think anyone will claim that Android can only be used by IT specialists.

What Linux needs to hit the mainstream is a company like Valve or Google or someone to come in and make a Linux for the everyman.  Valve already has Steam on Linux, and I think it would be neat to build a Linux distro that's fully integrated with Steam.  Call it Steam OS or something.  Kind of like what Google did with Chrome OS, but with it still having a core, offline OS.  (Chrome OS handles everything in the cloud, not locally.)  With how Valve is pushing Linux, it would make sense for them to jump in with their own variant that focuses on the everyday Windows user.  Ubuntu is close, but apparently not close enough.
Shokuji
5 years, 8 months ago
If I remember correctly, Max OSX is UNIX with a pretty & functional GUI. I kind of hope Google will be the ones who make a desktop OS so we know it will have the funding, but I hope it's not Android because I'd really rather not have to deal with 'marketplaces' and 'ecosystems' and all that proprietary bullshit. That's one (of several) things about Windows 8 that I don't like; "Apps". I don't want to buy into a 'platform', I don't want to be locked-in to a single source, that's not what PC is about (though Mac people will probably feel right at home).

I think Valve is going more console than full PC. They're talking about their Steam Boxes and such which will be a boon to PC gaming in general, them spreading out on Mac & Linux is great too, I think they're the only digital distribution company that does that which gives them a serious leg-up. Google has been pretty generous (imo) when it comes to things like Gmail, Docs, Calender, etc. All these very useful things all for free. If it wasn't for Gmail then Microsoft/Yahoo/etc would still be offering 2MB storage for people's email. I loved how Google came by and was like "Here's a 1000MB, go nuts!" and then bumped it up to 7GB, now 10GB. And even if you need more room it's pretty reasonable too. Upgrade to even the smallest package and they'll bump your Gmail up to 25GB for free. So, essentially, for $2.50/mo you'll get 50GB of freely accessible storage (thanks to Google Drive), and a bunch of other free services.

But I'm a bit of a Google fanboy... though I don't really like G+ enough to use it regularly. =/
soggymaster
5 years, 8 months ago
I've tried on many occasions to get Ubuntu, and more recently, Kubuntu, to work on my laptop, but through the numerous blank screens I've been getting I've all but given up on it.  
Could this be because I'm trying to install 64 bit?  (Why should this matter on a 2011 model laptop?)
Zeikcied
5 years, 8 months ago
If your laptop has a 64-bit CPU, then that shouldn't be the problem.  Laptop hardware support is Linux's weak point.  The way I understand it is that there's a lot more proprietary and a lot less standard hardware on the laptop side which makes it more difficult to support it all reliably.  Especially since Linux devs don't really get any support from the manufacturers like Microsoft does.
soggymaster
5 years, 8 months ago
If it helps any, the laptop in question is an HP DV6-6135DX - which has a Llano APU and a dedicated low-end GPU that can be run in Crossfire.  Could this setup be part of the problem?
Zeikcied
5 years, 8 months ago
VernonOnFM
5 years, 8 months ago
This is one of the biggest advantages of Linux. Linux folks like to help each other out. Half the time I have a Windows problem, I go searching and either there's no answer because nobody wants to be bothered, or it's useless because the responses are just folks trolling.
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