sub specie aeternitatis

10 Things I Wish I Could Fix in Linux

October 19, 2005

Disclaimer: I’m still unknowledgeable about many things Linux, and most of these probably have answers. If only I knew about them.

1. It’s just so slow. In every distro I’ve tried, applications load faster and run smoother in Windows than they do in Linux. And file browsers like Nautilus? Can we say resource hog?

2. Sound Support. This one is more a personal problem, but my M Audio 2496 just doesn’t want to cooperate with Linux. Why can I get sound from OSS and not Alsa? And how exactly does OSS or Alsa work, why is Alsa supposedly better, and how the hell do I configure any of it?

3. Configuration Files. Speaking of configuration, so many cogs and wheels work according to their specific configuration files. If you know where these files are and what settings to change, you’re in good shape. Don’t know where/how to edit xorg.conf to get X settings just right? Tough shit buddy.

4. Non consistent UI. There are some smooth Gnome and KDE themes available. But what if I like to use K3B in Gnome and my Gnome theme is waaay different than KDE? And let’s not even talk about the ass ugly programs that still use GTK 1.

5. Hardware Support. While this has greatly improved over the years, I’m really aiming this one at ATI. My ATI X800 XL runs great in Windows, but boy oh boy are those Linux drivers dreadful.

6. Software Installation. I must admit, apt-get in Ubuntu is fabulous, but it doesn’t always work right, and for non apt distros,compiling from source is confusing and frustrating for non experienced users. Rpms aren’t too bad, but when you get caught in dependency hell, you’ll long for a simple Windows install.

7. Video/Media Playback. This has more to do with patents, MS only formats, and licensing than a Linux specific problem, but the fact that free distros can’t package support for DVDs, mp3s (in some), and many win32 codecs is a major drawback.

8. Games. Again, not a problem with Linux architecture as much as game vendors not porting games to the platform. Yet, in typical Linux fashion, the solutions to play Windows games in Linux will either cost you extra money, be extremely frustrating to set up, or a combination of both.

9. Dual Boot Setup. I’ve installed many linux distros in the past 5 years and this is not really a major setback for me anymore, but for new users who don’t wish to erradicate Windows from their computers, this is a major point of confusion and fear to get it set up correctly. Although I must give kudos to Mandrake (or Mandriva as it is now called). Their disk partitioning is the easiest I’ve used. Period.

10. I still have to dual boot. I’m mentioned 9 things I dislike about Linux above. I don’t really wish to bitch about Linux until I’m blue in the face. The fact is, I like Linux, and I get frustrated that because of the above things (and a few others), I still have to dual boot. I would like to switch completely over to Linux. It’s just not completely what I need, and that’s one of the most frustrating things of all.