I have nothing against Ubuntu Linux – it’s got everything going for it at the moment. It’s fast and it’s free, which is the biggest bonus of them all. But why is it not winning the war?
The reason: Linux is NOT simple. Even if thousands of people crowded at my door extolling the abilities Linux has, I still won’t make the change back. Even if they roar about how secure it is (which I can attest to) and the fact that it runs on anything (which it does) I still won’t change. Why? Because nothing worked for me.
Well, the term “nothing” is actually used loosely here. Given enough terminal commands, I probably could have gotten my Bluetooth module to work, and from there detect my Nokia 3110c and connect to the Internet, but I honestly couldn’t do it without the Internet – because that’s where all the resources on Linux are to be found. I could probably have compiled the open source drivers for my Unichrome Pro graphics card, but it really looked like too much hassle. I couldn’t even get Linux to choose the correct resolution for my laptop (1280 * 800) because of some stuff-up by the installer. I had to boot up with the Live CD and re-install it from the Live Desktop. While I think many first-timers will do this, I expected more from the installer.
My next grapple with this OS was the system partitioning. Windows has none of this – a few clicks and Vista/7 loads itself onto your hard drive without fuss. Linux, on the other hand, required me to set up my /swap partition, my /home and my stupid /root partition for the OS itself. Now if I didn’t know what I was doing, and if I didn’t have an in-depth knowledge of how swap partitions work, and what file system to choose for the partitioning, I would have made a complete mess of the whole thing. Why can’t they have an installer that analyses your system specs, notices you have free space and an XP partition, and then recommend a dual-boot with preset partition parameters? It can’t be much harder than reverse-engineering a driver, honestly.
Barring this and a few other mindless annoyances (the Synaptics package manager getting my goat), the Linux OS was very pleasant to work with. Openoffice read all my Office 2007 files flawlessly. Firefox worked well. I couldn’t play music because I didn’t download the plugins, but I wasn’t too worried about that, because this changed a week later.
I eventually decided to give up and replaced both XP and Linux with Windows 7. I’m now a much happier geek, thank you, because there’s no hassle! My drivers are available, I can play my games, and I can listen to music again! I always heard people ask: “Can it run on Linux?” and I believe this is the wrong approach to open source.
The question should now be: “How much of a hassle is this going to be?”