Sunday, February 3, 2008

Linux woes told through PCLinuxOS - as my friend tells it

My friend Sudhanshu wants to share few words with Linux community. He was a Windows user now turned to a full-time Linux user only last week. He asked me several good things and bad things of linux, I told him to recollect all his thought and put into paper. Here is what he says. I thought it would be better to put the ideas on this blog. Because PCLinuxOS is the best usable and easiest desktop in the Linux world. At least I think so.

Hope, the members will address some of the issues raised by my friend. So that he (and many others) will know why Linux is so if it is so.

Here goes my friend Sudhanshu......

"I just want to share some of linux ecstacy and agony with you.
Linux is a great server. In my office we never had any problem running web servers on Mandriva, RHEL or Debian. But I wonder why Linux Desktop is still rough around the corners. Let me site some examples (all from my experience).

  1. I am never sure whether I can copy the next VCD on my Linux Desktop.
    The first time I tried to copy the vcd files I miserably failed. Then somebody suggested me to use vcdimager and/or vcdgear. Tried that. Some of the vcds got copied, some still could not (but i tried them on XP, all get copied like breeze). Then somebody else told me to use cdfs. I did that as well. And it was a tedious job building a kernel module (dkms-cdfs). It did better job then vcdimager and vcdgear. But still I find problem.
  2. Next is the issue with drivers. PCLinuxOS 2007 did not have drivers for my x3100 graphics card. Somebody told me to download the latest xorg-video-intel driver. Downloaded it, but it could not go. It asked for a later xorg-server. Upgraded it. Still could not succeed. Of course, PCLinuxOS Gnome Remaster 2008 install detected my driver and autoconfigured. But, again a big but, I get only 24bit color at the best, whereas on windows I could get 32bit color. It's not a big issue, but nontheless a concern.
  3. I always loved my system clean. That's why I used many disk-cleaning tools on windows partition. But while using kleansweep on PCLinuxOS, I got dire results. I could not got my desktop back. I had to do a fresh install. Later I came to know that kleansweep is quite unintelligent while choosing what keep and what to dump. But I never had such a problem before.
  4. Then big issue was with getting proper software. Take for example K3b. It's versatile. But again not like that of Nero (I am talking about the Windows version, NeroLinux lags behind K3b). Whenever I write CD/DVD on Nero, I am sure it will burn well. But in K3b I have to be cautious about the burning speed, else the media is gone.
  5. The same thing goes with other softwares like Deluge and Ktorrent. None of them are as good as utorrent or bitcomet... On other front such as Office suites and graphics, linux apps are not that much productive. Let me explain, I never found OpenOffice as responsive (and fast) as MS Office. I never find GIMP as usable and versatile as Photoshop. Coming to illustration software, inkscape, xara and sodipodi lag miles behind CorelDraw and Adobe illustrator. The same goes with video-editing and audio-editing apps.
  6. Another big challenge. Last week I purchased disks of Britannica Encyclopedia and Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary. I refer to both of them at home and office. Both of them have option to speak/pronounce text and both come with Linux and Windows versons in a pack. In windows I never had any problem. OALD took MS speech engine and Britannica took quicktime. But while trying them on PCLinuxOS the speech engines did not work. Britannica and OLAD both asked to install VLC (despite the fact that the system already had the latest versions of VLC) then it told to use the VLC binary that came with the Britannica and OLAD. Did that as well. But still no going....
  7. Coming to web browsing. Previously, I had 64kbp bandwidth. I upgraded it to 128 last month (64kbp sucks). In windows I have always found it a bad experience to browse, but accessing the web was never a challenge. While in PCLinuxOS I could not access some of the websites. Firefox would fire some rounds of search and then it will say "The server is redirecting the page in such a way that would never....." and stand still... Later after a full days toil, I came to know it was an ipv6 issue. I disabled ipv6 globally. Now I enjoy browsing on firefox the best. Well, let me explain one more thing... Firefox is great in many respects, but it has one drawback, it's still very slow to start, whereas IE4, 5, 6 and 7 all are very fast to start, though they fall flat before FF feature-wise.
  8. I visit distrowatch regularly. Love to read the software and new-releases. I am very annoyed, when will the bugs will ever go. Every new release note tells it fixed certain bugs, but still there are many to be fixed on the next release. The n-number of alphas, betas and rcs...
  9. Then coming to desktop environment. Windows Desktop Environment (Explorer) and Mac Environment (Aqua) rarely break/crash. (I am talking about desktop environment and not the system or OS). But I have crashed KDE and GNOME several times. You tinker a little and will be dragged to a text terminal. At some good times you can come back to desktop
    and at some bad times you have to re-install or re-configure the desktop...
  10. The integration puzzle: On windows I never have problems in adding/removing/changing programs. My MS Office default install had Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, and many others, but I removed everything except Word, Excel and Powerpoing. But while trying the same with OpenOffice on PCLinuxOS, synaptic says it's going to remove the whole of OO.o. And the same thing goes with others. I know I have x3100 video driver installed. But on synaptic I see many others video drivers (and tons of other drivers). While trying to uninstall them, it says it's going to remove the x3100 driver as well. What a mess! The same is true with removing quite a lot of other software. When I try to remove some of unnecessary software, synaptic says it's going to remove some necessary software as well. Oh!!

Last words...

Despite all those things I use Linux. I am proud of its growth. It's improving like anything. Only last sunday, I deleted my windows partition and did a fresh install of PCLinuxOS. Because I love FOSS, GNU and Linux. I like their philosophy of software development and deployment. And I like the linux security. But as I told earlier, I just pray god and the developers to smooth the rough edges of Linux. Hope the situation will improve in next few years.

Thanks all the forum members."

15 comments:

PCLinuxOS-lover said...

Dear, though Linux is still rough around some corners. The situation is fast improving. We will get more mature software for Linux (and PCLinuxOS) than for Windows. But we have to wait. Have not you read Eliot - "A time to die... a time to born..."

Anonymous said...

", I get only 24bit color at the best,"

Actually, that's a bit misleading. If you see "24" in xorg.conf, that's actually 32 bit color. I don't get it either, but there you have it...

Anonymous said...

Yes, 32 bit color is actually just 24 bit color. 2^24 = 16,777,216 colors, which is all any of Mac, Linux, and Windows will produce. The other 8 bits are used for Alpha, which is transparency. Linux and Windows color settings are the same. Marketing gurus tout the extra 8 bits as a feature, but it's available in all systems.

manmath sahu said...

Ok, that's a good revelation.
Thanks a lot for your inputs.

lefty crupps said...

what is a +ve or a -ve ? I've never heard or read this term. How is it pronounced, and what does it mean?

manmath sahu said...

sudhanshu wants to convey good things and bad things by +ves and -ves. definitely it is wrong usage. but, that's the way he expressed his feelings.

Anonymous said...

The drivers for the X3100 are present and working fine on the MiniMe edition of PCLOS 2008. You may want to install that instead.

manmath sahu said...

Yes you are right! I tried PCLinuxOS 2008 MiniME. Everything worked out of box. But still waiting for the big release.

Anonymous said...

WOULD YOU ELABORATE THE ISSUE FURTHER?

manmath sahu said...

Well, I am planning to do some documentation on various issues of linux in general and pclinuxos in particular, so that we will have a really great desktop around.

winboy said...

whatever may be the reason, linux world lacks a better set of applications in comparison to windows. there is no photoshop for linux (blame it adobe and blame it on the incapability of adobe to create photoshop for multiple distros like redhat, mandriva, debian, slackware....). it's just an example, there are many better applications in windows world such as corel, avidexpress, office.... who have no real competitors in linux. that's why 98% of the of computer users of the world use windows even paying a hefty amount for it. whereas people hesitate to even to try linux for free.... it's sad situation.

manmath sahu said...

hi winboy,
your points are only partially true. there are many productive applications in linux world that windows does not have at all. check it for yourself.

Anonymous said...

Why bash pclinuxos / linux for minor hiccups? Linux is better than Windows in countless ways, only because it's desktop deployment was not emphasized in past, it's lagging behind Windows. And that 98% windows deployment is not the correct figure. Out of that 98%, 94% amount to the use of pirated windows copies. Had Microsoft employed a strict anti-piracy campaign, its deployment would have been shrinked to just 2-4% and the rest of the world would have been using Linux.

manmath sahu said...

yeah, you might be right. in my humble opinion pclinuxos (linux) has more powers and possibilities than windows (windows xp), but definitely it lacks some user-friendliness. to conclude, i would say that windows and linux are two different ways of computing. if windows suits you, use it, it's not that bad either.

Anonymous said...

linux has and will always be hobbyist's os and lack the user-centric approach that windows offers.

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