Sunday, May 31, 2009

So What's the Real Problem in Desktop Linux?

running linux application softwareIt's a peculiar world of computing where some say Linux is ready to replace Windows on the Desktop. They consider Linux is better than Windows by every possible way. Some others (including many Linux enthusiasts) are in the opinion that Linux is still not ready for mass consumption. So, what's holding the Tux back?

Hardware? Not a big problem anymore. With every release of kernel, the latest drivers find a place in the linux pool. It's only a matter of time. If your device is not supported by a current release, it will most probably be supported by the next.

Usability? I don't think so. Both Gnome 2.26 and KDE 3.5.10 (the most stable, KDE4 still needs some time in oven) desktop environments are able to give M$ a run for its money. Both are beautiful and usable. Compiz beats M$ Aero effects. What's more Linux Desktop Environments are frugal in resource consumption if you compare them with Windows Vista.

Performance? Not at all. Modern Linux kernel is very fast and stable. Modern Linux filesystem is also very versatile. If you doubt try copying GBs of data in a Linux system and do the same in a Windows System (with similar hardware configuration). You will see Linux is definitely faster. Of course, there are so many other speed tests.

What's left then? Application software?

Yes. Linux lags behind application software. All the Mac software works well in Mac. Same is true for Windows. In course of time applications in Windows (and Mac) get added features and enhancements. But in case of Linux application software, though there has more thrust in new features, stability has been often overlooked.

Here is an example of Brasero (2.26.1-1mdv2009.1). It is supposed to be a better replacement of nautilus-burner in gnome. It has many features and it's fast. I bought this feeling while using a previous version (on PCLinuxOS 2009.1 Gnome Remaster). But the version 2.26.1 on Mandy is total disaster. It took forever to burn a dvd. Pathetically, it resulted in a bad burn. At last I used growisofs tool to burn using the correct options.

Another pathetic example is that of Evince 2.26.1 (that came with mandriva 2009.1). It always renders pages very slow like a snail. What's worse is that it scorches the cpu all the while.

There are thousand other such applications......

If you are using application software in Linux you don't know whether the next version will really work flawlessly on your system. In addition to it, the other critical problem is that a same version of application software may behave differently across various Linux distributions depending on how the same is packaged and how the dependencies are handled.


Johannes said...

Brasero has been a catastrophy for years now... I don't understand why i doesn't get fixed! Thanks for your post.

Anonymous said...

This is one of my complaints for linux.

Linux though while Claims it is more stable; I have found it unpredictable. Don't get me wrong I like linux, but that one little detail that it frequently crashes get to me.

There is ALL kinds of hardware problems. esspecially now that ATI no longer supports non HD cards.

and finnaly wile others praise it I HATE the gpl, it makes me uncofortable. that code is easily modified and coruptable.

So I guess it is all preferance, but Linux needs to solve software, stability, and hardware problems before it is read for the big leauges.

Larry said...

At least when a Linux app gets borked, it gets fixed a hell of a lot faster than a corresponding Windows app.

Not to mention that the opensource community has an excuse; they're not getting paid for it, so what do you expect?

Down8ve said...

Yep, it's the apps, for sure. There are many gee-wow-that-would-be-nifty softwares available for linux that are a long way from being truly functional.

I've searched for months through dozens of distros to find a environment for my rather bland machine, but have had to install the RC of Windows 7 to have video editing, quick and easy desktop publishing, low-latency audio editing (without booting into another kernel) along with a wide range of fully functional applications.

Larry's right, open source has an excuse... I take that to mean you get what you pay for. Perhaps this will change. I hope it will.

manmath sahu said...

Thanks Larry & Down8ve!
I agree with your points. But I would still think the scenario in linux application software would have been better if the devs focused more on stability and polish than grabbing new features in each release.

Daybrinjer said...

There is a time and place for everything. Windows has gaming and applications, easy to administer (and secure with the right setups) desktop as well as server environments. Mac has video editing and well that's about all I can think of. Linux based distros have traditionally been for the more hardcore user and use on servers. I see the problem now that normal people can use an OS such as *buntu its more of an issue of them thinking its more complicated or not wanting to leave their comfort zone.

L. Woititz said...

Quotation: "But in case of Linux application software, though there has more thrust in new features, stability has been often overlooked."

Sometimes, such statements seem to me like bad black humor. People that claim their application software is unstable, probably don't even know that the Debian operating system exists.


Yonah said...

Compiz beats Aero in terms of effects? Most would agree the number of effects makes it a winner, hands down. How about Stability and Compatibility? Compiz fails on both counts, but of course you don't mention that. You aren't interested in facts, just stroking your own ego by constantly reinforcing your choice of OS over and over again by creating yet another "Windows Sucks, Linux Rules" blog post. Yawn.

manmath sahu said...


Thanks you dropped a line! But you got the post wrong. I never meant that "Windows Sucks, Linux Rules" thing. I just wanted to convey the annoyances of Linux Desktop of which Lack of stable and polished application software is a major one.

Anonymous said...

linux is just a piece of shit...
aero is much*1000 times better than compiz.
sudo "make it work" HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa

retarted linux fanboys...

How about this