2020: State of Linux desktop today

Discussion in 'Operating Systems' started by Noisiv, Dec 4, 2020.

  1. Noisiv

    Noisiv Ancient Guru

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    Honest look at the state of Linux desktop today:
    https://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/linux-year-of-dissatisfaction.html

    Graphics support - The installation of drivers (like Nvidia) is not trivial. Doing it on say Kubuntu, Fedora, CentOS, or Slackware requires completely different procedures. VDPAU, VAAPI, I don't care. Wayland, Xorg, I don't care. I just want a simple solution that works. Except: UHD/4K support is not trivial, fractional scaling is not trivial, video tearing still affects distros at random, performance is less than Windows, hybrid card support is flaky and nerdy at best.

    Samba support
    - The filesystem connectivity is affected by all sorts of problems, including discoverability, authentication, permissions, timestamps, and above all, raw throughput.

    Media support
    - By and large, there still isn't a Linux media player that hits all the ergonomic and usability buttons.

    No Linux killer app
    - With Windows holding the lion's share of the market, pretty much any standard desktop program available for Linux is also available for Windows, but not vice versa.

    Backward compatibility
    - This is a huge one. On a Windows 10 system, I can run, without any modifications, applications created 10-15 years ago easily.

    Consistency
    - This is another huge one. Saying Linux is all about a choice is rather incorrect. It's a choice in that you can choose the platform you want, but not necessarily be able to do anything you like with it. The inconsistency is everywhere, across the entire stack, both horizontally and vertically.

    Fonts
    - The usability (and by extension, accessibility) in most distributions is bad and remains unresolved. Only two or three distros have good, legible fonts by default - kerning, subpixel hinting, font contrast, color, all the fine bits that make reading a joy or a torture.

    Documentation and QA processes
    - Apart from the wide variance in how distros present themselves, what type of websites they have, what kind of styling and theming they use to distinguish themselves, most distros also have no formal, defined testing process or up-to-date documentation.

    Product vs project
    - Finally, most distributions are just volunteer efforts by passionate people working on what is essentially their hobby. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. It's actually very cool that people can express themselves in a fun way. The problem is when these efforts are offered to the general public. Most people expect products. Linux distributions are not made as products, and going from a joint fun effort to a serious product takes huge amounts of time and money.
     
  2. Noisiv

    Noisiv Ancient Guru

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    There must be standardization - on every level. Instead of the chaos theory we have right now, there could be one standardized filesystem layout, one standardized graphics stack, one standardized audio stack, one binary format, and so on. Once again, the human nature precludes this from being a reality, or even a practical compromise. This is because Linux is the backbone of the modern computing industry, a fat, fat backbone backed by clear commercial interests from multi-billion-dollar companies. Solutions designed for the business work leak into the desktop space (which also makes them inadequate for home use), and by proxy, reflect the Cold War of Technology among business entities that use and develop Linux-based solutions. This means that not only are we not likely to get a standard - which would imply total domination by a company - if we ever do get one, it's going to be inadequate - like systemd, which might work for cloud machines, but it has no real value for the typical home rig.

    There needs to be a major shift of effort from development to support - stable, high-quality products require a huge amount of nurturing and caring. But it would not be fair or realistic to expect a volunteer contributor to a Linux project to drop their passion and work like a grunt on boring tasks like documentation and testing. There's a reason why companies have paid QA departments, and why you often get students and interns working there, because there's no glamor in these tasks. Understandably, no one wants to be the person spending day after day after day running automated tests and writing dreadfully dull reports. The shift from pure development to mostly support would also mean the majority of developers currently working on Linux having no interest or reason to contribute, especially if they are not paid to do so. This is only viable if people get a salary to work on a product, which isn't the case for most distro efforts.

    The solution is actually everything that the Linux desktop isn't today - and everything the SERVER and CLOUD Linux actually is! Commercialization of the effort, driven by commercial (money) considerations, with people working on products rather than participating in something that is altruistic, fun and often voluntary. And this is why most Linux desktop distros will never make this transition, and why most people will never use Linux.

    This realization is hard and painful for an enthusiastic nerd like me. It is even more painful when you realize that not only can you not use Linux as your daily driver in the everyday product sense, that goal is actually slowly slipping away. Not a pleasant realization.

    I also realize that most distros will never change their stance - why should they, they are having fun.

    But unfortunately, me testing these distros - I'm not having fun.
     
  3. anticupidon

    anticupidon Ancient Guru

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    I hear ya'.
    Being following Dedoimedo's blog for quite some time.
    Sadly, he speaks the truth as best it can be spoken.
    Sigh,what to do?
    Tribalism and unwillingness to cooperate with other developer teams is what's plaguing the whole Linux community.
    My distro is better that yours is childish already.
     
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  4. anticupidon

    anticupidon Ancient Guru

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    It's very hard to "restrict freedom".
    But it's necessary and will bring even more users willing my to learn 'Linux" but in a sistematic, consistent way.
    What's the point of learning one thing just to discover it's not working in another distro, just because each does it differently, for the sake of freedom.
    Imagine a country where each state, city and town have driving rules...
    Bet you that collisions will occur each day...
    And I use PopOS and Endeavour OS...each one is a different approach, each one require a small amount of time to learn your way to do your computing.
     
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  5. Truder

    Truder Maha Guru

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    Reminds me of this:-

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. anticupidon

    anticupidon Ancient Guru

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    In a way Linux has a way of being it own biggest enemy. Too much effort is misdirected and where some teams manage to be on their own target schedule , some teams loose interest and projects looses adepts and just die.
    But I strive to educate myself and believe in user freedom.
    It's a journey, where it will take me, I don't know.
    But even with all above mentioned, I still like and marvel at Linux as whole thing.
    Where we would be today without it?
     
  7. anticupidon

    anticupidon Ancient Guru

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    Well, this one explains a bit funnier the current state of the Linux. And it's right on all points.

     
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  8. eng1

    eng1 New Member

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    That is so flawed I don't know where to start. CentOS is an operating system meant for servers, not the desktop. If you opt for an OS like Linux Mint which is meant for consumer desktops, it's a click of a button.

    That said, I would suggest staying away from Nvidia anyways, be it windows or linux.



    Works fine, samba support can be flakey on windows too. Most people don't even use this feature other than basic share and that isn't a problem.

    VLC?

    Linux has a ton of apps Windows does not. Many of said apps are free on linux while paid on windows.

    There are plenty of windows apps that don't work anymore on windows 10. That said, other than pulling out an old dos game why would you?

    And yes you can most definitely run old linux apps on new versions. Containers like Flatpak, AppImage and Snap make it possible.

    You can do whatever you like with it just fine. It's more than just choosing your own platform.

    What? You can set whatever font you want.

    Most linux is open source, which means all changes are by nature documented in the source tree. And most large distros do have documentation and QA. You simply have to know where to look. I assure you, the documentation and QA process on linux is 1000X more accessible than windows.

    See, I don't understand why one mentions "most distributions". Most distributions are not for you or most people. It's like most wood is in the form of trees, not houses. And that isn't a bad thing.

    The big distributions like Ubuntu is manage by a company(Canonical). Then you have forks of it like Linux Mint which is done by volunteers which add their own polish. There is also openSUSE linux managed by SUSE. IBM/RedHat and Fedora. And technically Google with ChromeOS and Android.

    Linux isn't only just rogue volunteers, there are many companies working on it and contributing to it. It's a combined effort of corporations and people.
     
  9. anticupidon

    anticupidon Ancient Guru

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    Can we agree that many things could be improved?
    As a collective effort across distros?
     
  10. Noisiv

    Noisiv Ancient Guru

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    @eng1
    I would suggest re-reading the article and re-think on issues the author is raising.

    Kneejerk responses like:
    VLC? (in regard to no great Linux media player)
    You can do whatever you like with it just fine. (mind boggling amount of inconsistencies in Linux world)
    would suggest that you're somewhat of a newbie.

    while responses like: What? You can set whatever font you want.
    prove that you can't read past the first comma ( " Only two or three distros have good, legible fonts by default " )

    You're out of your mind if you think that alleviating font issues across the entire Linux desktop is a breeze or a joyous task even for an advanced user. Furthermore, you do realize that one can be a fuking UNIX GURU without being a typographer and knowing fuk all about font ergonomics and legibility?

    never mind many - name one.
     

  11. Astyanax

    Astyanax Ancient Guru

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    his opening was pure kneejerk, no surprise from a linux fanatic.
     
  12. Noisiv

    Noisiv Ancient Guru

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    the guy that @eng1 was responding to wrote 997 articles on Linux, each one in his own words covering a specific subject. that's a fanatic if I ever saw one.
    using one liners to respond to a guy like that is just WTF

    I mean
    WTF
     
  13. anticupidon

    anticupidon Ancient Guru

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    Guys, it's getting ugly. We are close to heated discussion and even closer to name calling.
    The very idea of the thread was to raise awareness of some issues affecting the whole Linux community.
    And the tone wasn't : Screw Linux, it's rubbish and so on...
    It was and still is : Dear Linux, I love so much, but you can do much better. Let's see what we can do about it...
    Also, we are grown ups (hope so) and we can discuss matters that can be not as we want or desire, but we learn about things that can be improved.
    That's the general line, listen, learn and improve.
    And I use Linux, but sometimes it's obvious that a lot of things could be improved. That makes me a sellout ?
     
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  14. Noisiv

    Noisiv Ancient Guru

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    Nah...we're fine. A bit of namecalling never killed anyone :)
    GNU/Linux is both great and disastrous in so many ways. As anyone who has ever dipped their toe into the matter is fully aware.
     
  15. Astyanax

    Astyanax Ancient Guru

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    thats about his most accurate statement, what he doesn't say though is that their changes and contributions only go into their own dedicated forks and rarely make their way back into the main source tree XD

    Because Linus veto's anything he doesn't like :eek:
     

  16. anticupidon

    anticupidon Ancient Guru

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    Glad that I try to hangout in Linux forums where still decency and politeness are valued. But I know first hand how toxic some communities are and where newbies are having a hard time.

    @Astyanax Isn't Linus a benevolent dictator? Just stating the obvious. And in some ways, it's beneficial to some extent.
     
  17. anticupidon

    anticupidon Ancient Guru

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    Let's keep this thread going, in the end more and more will be intrigued and will try Linux.
    Don't you dare ask "What's the best distro" because it will cause a chain reaction, atoms will disinegrate, a black hole will swallow our galaxy whole...:p:D
    Just try whatever you want or use this tool.
     
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  18. eng1

    eng1 New Member

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    My response was to YOUR statements, not to the article link per se. You cut up a bunch of the author's statements. Not that I agree with many of them either for example:

    "Media support - By and large, there still isn't a Linux media player that hits all the ergonomic and usability buttons. There are tons of players with 70% feature set. Excluding VLC, which isn't a Linux app per se, the availability of codecs and supported formats varies widely among distributions and applications. Playback quality is not trivial, and often dependent on the underlying system configuration. Also tearing."

    His own statements contradict themselves. He clearly says that VLC ticks the buttons but chooses to ignore it simply because it isn't a linux exclusive?



    Many linux distros don't even have ANY GUI by default (Because they aren't meant to be used as desktops). And many let you CHOOSE what GUI you want by default. End of the day, there are only a few linux distros an average person looking at linux should choose from. And all of them have perfectly legible fonts "by default".

    Linux is like an "electronic device", trying to rate a freezer on how much it warms up your toast is silly. If you want warm bread, there are toasters, microwaves, grills and etc. Which is why just like with an electronic device, the first thing you need to choose is your INTENDED USE. And from there, your options get a lot better for that intended use.


    Server software like cpanel isn't available on windows. For desktop users many of the gnome applications.
     
  19. anticupidon

    anticupidon Ancient Guru

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    As stated, let's keep this thread open to opinions and facts.
    Also, let's us all be open that what we know, what we defend about Linux to many others is trivial or downright insignificant.
    A tool, any tool is useless if there is no one to pick it up and use it, and learn to wield it even better.
    So, at the end of the day Linux is nothing more than a tool to do your computing. I run many computers at home fully Linux but also use Windows at work and school.
    I accept that each task needs a specific tool, and avoid to be too attached to one tool or glorify other. I just pick up what I see as convenient.
    So there you have it.

    The state of Linux today is far, far better than, let's say, two years before. But also, far worse, because some things instead of improving got worse.
    The whole Linux foundation drama, with all SFWs invading and changing the code of conduct. Not to mention trying to lynch Linus for foul language.
    Not to mention Gnome devs saying one and do the other, indulge in politics and take decisions with political nuances and some guys from Linux Foundation showing up with Macbooks (running Mojave) and give presentations.
    The "do as I say not as I do" never worked.
     
  20. Noisiv

    Noisiv Ancient Guru

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    [​IMG]
    But that's not what I asked, is it? And that's not what you originally claimed, is it? see the screnshot above.
    So you were wrong, as I knew all along: there isn't a single app "free on Linux while paid on windows"

    Still unable to read past the first comma ;)
    Lets re-read together please:

    By and large, there still isn't a Linux media player that hits all the ergonomic and usability buttons. There are tons of players with 70% feature set. Excluding VLC, which isn't a Linux app per se, the availability of codecs and supported formats varies widely among distributions and applications.

    MEANING:
    He excludes VLC when in it comes to the issue of codecs availability! He "ignores" VLC" in that regard only. Because VLC is a swis army knife when it comes to out of the box playing anything. He did not suggest that VLC ticks all the boxes!
    Why did you brought GUI into this? That's another issue altogether. As for your total unawareness on the font front - pull dedoimedo's review of any of your favorite distro and search for FONTS.

    Yes we all know that Linux can be great in special, narrowly defined tasks. Except when its not.
    Apparently you read the article and have not managed to pick up that he was talking about GNU/Linux used as a general purpose desktop PC.
     

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