Reasons Why Linux Sucks

Posted by: Rea Maor In: Linux and Unix - Thursday, May 24th, 2007

Well, you’ve seen a lot of posts on this site about Linux and Free and Open Source Software on this very site. Mostly all of it has been pro-Linux. So here, to balance the scales, is the other side of the story!

  1. No Games! Or at least, not many games to speak of. No, I don’t mean running an emulator to support Windows games. No, I don’t mean the emulators for arcade and Nintendo. I want to play, not emulate. Native, platform games, made for it and working with it. No, I don’t mean some text-mode rogue thing or the nerdy little puzzle games that come with Gnome and KDE. When will Linux decide to pay more attention to the FUN side?
  2. Chasing Windows. Seriously, it’s nice that most distros went from all the command and console stuff to a full desktop-capable system like Macs and Windows. Now it needs to find its own look. Too many distros out there are trying to be a perfect clone of Windows XP; if I want XP, I know where to find it. Get Linux over its insecurity complex and have it make up its own “look and feel” already!
  3. All the hardware is supported – except mine. Can I get this digital camera working? 800 drivers for digital cameras – nope mine isn’t on the list. What about this wireless card? Dozens of brands supported – whoops, I bought the wrong one! I’m tired of playing hardware bingo – either I’m very unlucky at it, or there’s still some big holes to fill.
  4. Problems coming up to a desktop. At least detect good default settings for a monitor and video card, and then give me an easy way to fix the size and color depth if I need to. Many, many distros do this, so the ones that don’t and either haul off and boot me to a plaid striped letterbox screen or leave me at a console trying to guess what my monitor’s vertical refresh rate is are even guiltier by comparison. It’s all open source, so the distros that get it wrong can just borrow from the ones that get it right, right?
  5. Inner-Linux flame wars. KDE vs. Gnome! Emacs vs. vi! Ubuntu vs. Mandriva! All of these are fought just as feverishly as if they…. cost money. Hey, you’re giving it all away for free, so who cares what anybody uses?
  6. FOSS Purity. OK, I loaded a closed-source driver onto my system so my video card will work. Do I have to be nailed to a wall for it? Yes, I know open source is the One True Way – and if all the drivers are open one day, that will make me very happy. In the mean time, I care about what works first. Ditto the haggling over licenses – there’s forty of them, most of them differ in one or two details, and thinking about legal stuff gives the user side of me a headache.
  7. Obsession over taking over from Windows. When is the year of Linux on the desktop? Who cares? Look, again, you’re giving it away for free, so if you take over 98% of Microsoft’s market share, you are ahead exactly how far?
  8. Linux devotees are too serious. Because you can’t post a list like this and not have a bunch of them come flame you. Lighten up. Your system’s fine. We love you. You’re big enough now to take your beating along with the other platforms.


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29 Responses to “Reasons Why Linux Sucks”

  1. kuriharu Says:

    You make some good points. I love Linux but I accept its faults.

    A lot of the Linux-heads out there tend to act as though Linux is above criticism. I criticize Linux to make it BETTER. If we don’t complain people won’t make changes and Linux will remain stagnant.

  2. Rea Maor Says:

    That’s what difference us from must Microsoft users,
    Linux and Open Source users in general tend to Speak Up and say
    whatever they have on their minds, only by doing this we as “Fans” can make a difference
    and improve the products.

  3. JD Says:

    1. There are plenty of Linux Native games including a Warcraft 2 clone, a flight simulator, almost all ID’s games (Doom, Quake, etc), Unreal Tournament, Enemy Territory and a few others.
    2. There are a few Window Managers that “Chase Windows” (such as FVWM and LXP), but there are plenty of Window Managers that break away by default such as Gnome, KDE, Fluxbox and XFCE just to name a few. If you still miss the Windows look, but want to keep using one of these, you can always get a Windows-like skin for it.
    3. I personally think you’re just very unlucky with hardware, 2 of my laptops, bought them without knowing i was going to put linux on them, all my hardware is fully supported, all my desktops i built myself, again not knowing i was going to put linux on them, all my hardware works. There are really only a few things that don’t work: ATI videocards don’t work well, Lexmark printers require a lot of messing with things and so does Broadcom wireless.
    4. This is not a linux problem, this is a distro specific problem to Ubuntu. I beleive SuSe, Fedora Core and PCLinuxOS deal with resolutions and the like flawlessly.
    5. I agree that this sucks, but people like what they like, and they fight for what they like so to speak. Linux should not be a war between everybody, but there’s really no way to prevent it.
    6. I agree here too, but people believe FOSS should mean Fully FOSS, not just mostly FOSS and some closed source drivers for some things…Luckily, in the next Ubuntu release, they’re going to have the regular version and a fully FOSS version, so this should help a bit.
    7. I think if Linux takes over the market share, there would be more donating to FOSS projects and more developers coming onboard to FOSS projects and it would really make Linux great….Or it would make Linux turn into something like Windows…not sure.
    8. Yeah, we are a bit. And i know writing this comment is basically agreeing with this comment, but some of your points are truly wrong. If you make good points across all linux distros that are “current”. we’d have no reason to come here and complain to you that you’re inaccurate.

  4. Rea Maor Says:

    @JD
    There ARE games, and there ARE drivers, and in last few years awareness for
    Linux has grown rapidly, BUT, I just wish we could all us OFFICIAL drivers and play
    Official Games, I don’t want to use Mainstream Linux distributions like Fedora or Susa
    I want to use a simple Core Linux system, with nothing fancy on it and not having to
    Use Generic drivers or worst, Write them myself’

  5. Zolookas Says:

    1. Yes, there are too few 3D games compared to Windows. I don’t see how it’s possible to “fix” this problem. Not linux doesn’t pay attention, game developers doesn’t! Without game developers support there can’t be anything better in linux than wine or cedega.
    2. It is not possible to do. There are multiple desktop environments and everyone is different. They can’t be the same, because eveyone has it’s own taste.
    3. Again, if hardware developers doesn’t provide source code or specs, hardware support will always be limited. Many drivers have been reverse-engineered, ask your hardware vendo for linux draivers. Microsoft doesn’t provide drivers for your wireless card, yes?
    4. This should be integrated on Xorg 7.3
    6. You shouldn’t thing about legal stuff if you are using driver and not distributing it. Linus said, that binary drivers are allowed for personal use.

  6. kuriharu Says:

    I notice a lot of comments that say “Problem is with developers/hardware manufacturers, not Linux”. While that’s technically true, the fact is that it is a problem for Linux users, which makes it a problem for Linux. We won’t be able to convince users to switch by saying “okay, your wireless card doesn’t work, but that’s the fault of the wireless card company, not Linux. Enjoy!”

    Which is why Linux is great for hobbyists. We love to hunt and search for things to make the computer run better, or in the case of drivers, run at atll. If you’re a programmer, you can even write your own drivers. Those of us who DON’T have that ability have to sit on the sidelines.

    The fight of getting people to switch is worth doing; we just have to understnad the limitations.

  7. Binny V A Says:

    Not having good games contribute a lot to the kind of productivity I get in Linux 😉

  8. Coop Search Says:

    I think its a chicken and egg problem.

    Game developers will not start writing games for linux until it becomes popular with gamers. And gamers will not start using linux until it has got games.
    Same with drivers to some extent.

    The inner flame wars are a big problem. It would be better if they had a united effort.

  9. simplyjat Says:

    I think you are lost in middle and furious because you can’t find your way out.

    .1 Games In my opinion playing all latest and greatest games on computers is really geeky, every 11 months or so you should think about hardware update.If you are geeky enough to play games on computers then you should not complain about Linux geekiness. If you are not a geek get yourself a gaming console and play games on you HDTV which gives you better and consistent experience.

    2. Now this is another misconception; similar to one “bill gates wrote dos on back of a napkin” or “bill gates said that 640 K memory should be sufficient for everyone” Understand the user interface, where it started and where it is heading. One example since i started using KDE(around 8 years ago) there was a feature that for automatically changing wallpapers after a fixed interval of time. Windows was not having any such feature in XP (although, there were third party applications to do the same). And voila we see the same very feature in Windows Vista!!! now how can you explain me that KDE copied from XP a feature eight years ago its inception ?

    3. Stop ranting like a kid. “My doll is broken”. Did you try to find out why ? Because people like you allow driver manufacturers to understand that no one likes Linux and thus no need to support Linux. Do you even know how many drivers are provided by Windows? How many are digitally signed by microsoft? And how many will give you BSOD?

    4. I can name a lot of distributions that do it by default. PL Linux OS, Mandrake, Ubuntu, Sabayon, Suse, Fedora, MEPIS, PC-BSD and the list goes on…. And how can you forget that when you install a new graphics card on windows(for which there are no drivers provided by windows) it default to 800×600 with 8 bit? And then you have to install driver manually and then restart again to get the full resolution. At least you dont have to restart the machine in windows.

    5. Do you know how cub’s grow up? They fight all the time. There are flame wars, there are disagreements and there are splits and also there are again mergers. Its all part of Free Speech. At least you can speak.

    6.Don’t you think it is a free world where you should have the right to speak up what you strongly feel. What if some people are targeting for FOSS purity, some people are also targetting usability PC Linux OS, Ubuntu, Desktop BSD. There are always sides, decide which side you are in.

    7. Linux was never started with “Taking over Windows” motto in mind. If that would have been the point then you might have seen C:\Program Files instead of /bin /usr/local/bin. Linux started against Unix. get your basics right.

    8. I think writing this whole list explains your argument.

  10. ardchoille Says:

    1. No games – well games are a waste of time anyway.
    2. Chasing Windows – You don’t have a clue do you? Microsoft has been stealing/copying technology from others for years (Macintosh anyone?).
    3. All the hardware is supported – except mine – Then learn how to build computers (it isn’t hard) and pick the hardware you want.
    4. Problems – you can’t please all of the people all of the time.
    5. Inner-Linux flamewars – And why do you listen to this rubbish?
    7. When is the year of Linux on the desktop? – Well that was in 2001 for me, since I have been happily using Linux without any problems since 2001.

    I’ve been using Linux as my sole operating system since 2001 on 11 computers
    and have come to the following conclusion: most of the people who say Linux sucks are the same folks who are either too stupid or too lazy to actually learn how the operating system works. And please keep in mind that operating a paper airplane is much different that operating a real airplane due to the power/benefit/security difference inherent in each of those.

    I don’t use Windows because it’s closed source and a virus/trojan/worm/malware magnet. A closed source operating system could be grabbing every key stroke you make (online banking, social security number, date of birth, mother’s maiden name, etc) and sending it all home to be added to a huge database. The problem is you’d never know it because you don’t really know what the system is doing behind your back.

    Windows operating systems are plagued with viruses/worms/trojans/spyware/malware and things like that don’t exist for Linux. Read this article to find out why those bad things likely wouldn’t exist for Linux even if Linux were the most widely used OS: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2003/10/06/linux_vs_windows_viruses/

    I can do things with Linux that Windows simply can’t do because Linux is more secure/stable than Windows is.

    Please take a few moments to read my Linux page instead of blindly posting myths/misunderstandings/lies/garbage when it comes to Linux: http://ardchoille42.googlepages.com/linux.html

  11. Karl Loss Says:

    Linux is for losers. All your points are relevant. It it was a fine product, people would be selling, it, not giving it away for free. And even being free it does not reach relevant market position. Linux should remain only on Servers and on the nerd/social lifeless-geeks niche on the PC market.

  12. Reggie Says:

    1. Games: true, most of the games you speak of are not made for linux. eventually, this will change. if games are a big priority, then linux is not the best choice.
    2. Chasing Windows: you’re off on this one. Windows didn’t come up with much at all as far as the GUI desktop goes. I’m running a moderately customized kde desktop right now, and it doesn’t at all have the look and feel of windows. If linux indeed mimicked windows in this department, i would never have been able to customize my desktop as much as i have.
    3. Yes, certain hardware is a problem. This relates to your games items. If they would just release drivers for linux, this wouldn’t be such an uphill battle. I’m fortunate to have all of my hardware (digital camera, printer, etc.) working properly.
    4. Hmm haven’t had problems here, though admittedly editing video config can be difficult in many linux distros. This is changing quickly, however.
    5. KDE vs Gnome, Emacs vs. vi, Ubuntu vs. Mandriva … this competition is overall quite constructive.
    6. Exaggeration here.
    7. Personally I don’t care, though taking over Windows would be nice.
    8. No flames here.

    and don’t forget: it’s not all about “free” as in money …

  13. Vladimir Bohinc Says:

    Sure some hardware does not work with linux (becouse the maker of the hardware doesnt provide drivers for linux), but that is not the faulth of the open source world. But windows isnt that grate about supporting hardware eather (99% of hardware works on windows systems, but it has so many problems dealing with it that it losses performance and the blue screen of death is common becouse of driver issues).

    Well I have a duall boot system Kubuntu and Vista

    #1 GAMING

    DirectX 10 is great for games and looks good, too bad XP is not supported :). Hey but linux runs many windows games with WINE (CEDEGA$, CROSSOWER$) and there are open source games that are realy good (Alien Arena, Tremolous,…)

    #2 LINUX IS NOT CHASING WINDOWS

    The technology that uses linux is totaly different than those used by windows, kernel arhitecture is different, desktop is different…

    Shure it looks like linux copies something from windows but that is no true, other tehniqes are used to accomplish simmilar goals.

    Like Plasma (KDE4), you would think they ripped it of from windows (sidebar gadgets on Vista), but that is not true. Shure those gadgets on Vista have some functionality but plasma is far more advanced, that are not onlly the applets but being the desktop itself….

    I can make my system look like a Mac OS and than say linux chases Mackintosh, well there are some basic similarities with windows but that is all you and I can see, what is under the hood is a totaly diferent story.

    #3 …

    Well I love linux and windows and hate them both sometimes, but there are 2 reasons why I like open source (not only linux, there is much open source for windows to) more- I can play with it and change it so it is yust right and package management so I dont have to hunt down every piece of software on the net…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  14. Ovi Says:

    1.No games! See 3.
    2.Chasing Windows!Prove it! I don’t see Compiz chasing windows, do you?
    3.All the hardware is supported – except mine. It’s not GNU/Linux’s fault. Is your driver manufacturer’s for only making windows drivers.
    4.Problems coming up to a desktop. You have choice. Choose a distro which does just that.
    5.Inner-Linux flame wars. Costs money?What money? Most people aren’t making much money developing free software anyway.
    6.FOSS Purity. The whole idea is to be free as in freedom, right? Forget your video driver and be free!:D
    7.Obsession over taking over from Windows. Nobody cares about talking over windows (except a few). The idea is to make an OS that suites those who want to use it, not someone who just wants to play games!
    8.Linux devotees are too serious. That’s because, similar to your arguments, most aren’t real. Basicly, Linux sucks because everything is not the same as windows or because some company did not make their software available for it.

  15. scott Says:

    install a game after a loads of hiccups,u get this install openGL,and after that u get install another thin
    1.From the end ordinary user point of view we would like to use what ever we buy.
    2.What is the use of havin drivers and softwares made to work after one week of research,the excitement fades.
    3.Linux applications are good but there is no proper back up incase of probs.all u do is post a problem and expect a linux geek to shed is knowledge in vain.
    4.I think all linux os must combine develop and standardize every application,only one open source linux to make a true success.

  16. Nick Says:

    I agree with the original post. I love the power of the Linux cli. After using it for a bit I feel “boxed in” on a Windows machine. But Linux is very difficult to use.

    I use WinSCP a lot because figuring out the command structure of scp when you’re in a rush was a real pain. Now, if root is blocked and you have to go in through one machine to get to the other because of IPTABLES, you can’t use WinSCP. So that’s out.

    I find that every time I want to install or do something on Linux quickly I can’t. There are a lot of steps involved. There’s a reason Windows is so ubiquitous. It can be a pain at times, but on a scale of ease of use Linux is an 8 while Windows is a 4.

  17. Jotunheim Says:

    It breaks down like this:

    Linux is for nerds, Mac is for introverted artists and Windows is for “common” people like Paris Hilton 😛

  18. michael Says:

    I would like to add 2 more points

    1. Lack of support from Companies like Skype to release quality portable software.

    2. Responsive Glossy Interface

    I’ve tried Mint and Ubuntu, they’re both amazing and I’m happy to have them, but I would like a little more Gloss.

  19. Bob Says:

    Like others, I too am willing to accept problems and limitations in Linux. As a geek type I am generally able to solve or work around them, making Linux suitable for me. (It is *much* harder to work around Windows problems given that it is a closed system.)

    And in the end, I consider what I paid for Linux and all my FOSS software, and judge accordingly.

  20. john Says:

    1 – Buy a Wii. Pc games are crap anyway.

    2 – Nothing like Windows, except for having ‘windows’. And Vista is not like Windows either. And XP was different to Win98.

    3 – Well that happens with Windows too. Not as much admittedly. Vista wouldn’t recognise heaps of drivers, and what if you were still using Win2000 ?
    You can often get plug-ins for Linux.

    4 – Again this happens with Windows too. Monitors and soundcards don’t come with drivers, and different versions of Windows may not work with your hardware.
    At least with Linux you can manually configure drivers.

    5 – Red Hat is evil, Everyone knows that. Debian or Death !

  21. Cecil Says:

    I have a solution to the linux gaming issue, have for years and can’t get the project going because I am known as a linux hater, because I see it’s fault and hate the zealots. Linux could be the #1 gaming OS in less than two years but it would require doing things the easy way, something that linux is allergic to.

  22. Keynan Says:

    Dude, your fact are all accurate.
    For linux fanboys: Yeah linux is perfect. Thats why 96% of machines on the planet run something else.
    Dependency hell. Case sensitivity. CLI chewing through my time because the l33t thinks it makes them somehow more human like to play with the their prompt. 500 different distros. Half a dozen package methods. Hardware support that is tragic at best, because anyone who isn’t willing to scrap a working machine just to buy crap that works for that system is lame. Sounds like a mac to me.

  23. open shit software Says:

    Yes. Linux thinks my wireless device is bluetooth and prevents me from accessing the internet. IRC ubuntu support calls me a troll because they think i’m lying when reinstalling network-manager tools in ubuntu prompts me to “uninstall ubuntu-desktop package”. COOL. OPEN SHIT SOFTWARE IS THE BEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11!!!111!!!!11!!1

  24. Keith Says:

    All my servers run Linux. They handle mail perfectly, and the databases, and the websites. They also do other really useful tasks that I ask them to from time to time. The system is a perfect platform for other open source software that runs on it.

    I have confidence in my servers. They have run more than 3 years uptime before a manual reboot. I hate to think what I would have to do if someone told me I needed to change my servers to another technology, for example, Microsoft.

    I APPLAUD and ADMIRE the open source development community.

    I FULLY SUPPORT the development of a Desktop Operating System based on Linux.

    When it’s developed, I will certainly consider using it.

  25. Keith Says:

    Oh dear, I just noticed this article was written in 2007. It is still being commented in 2011, and the comments are saying it is still valid.

  26. jezielle Says:

    heh heh heh…. I love how people are commenting on this article years after the publication date and the writer called it perfectly. Linux users probably read this and let loose a might rage, followed up by a fury of keystrokes.

  27. John Says:

    One of the biggest problems Linux has is the ignorance of the masses. Those who think “Ubuntu is all of Linux” try it because it’s thrust into their faces and when the see it isn’t familiar, or they discover the problems it has (and there are many!), they believe that all of Linux is faulty just because of that one half baked distro that is only popular because it is advertised by a millionaire.

    1. Linux has games. I do follow you here though. All my favorites are Windows/Mac only. I do play some of them on Linux through WINE, and amusingly, they play better that way. (Chalk it up to the superiority of Linux to Windows.) But game development isn’t going to spend hundreds of millions to make games for a platform that is not already well known as being a gaming platform. That, and which distro shall we make the game for? God help us all if you said “Ubuntu”.

    2. Linux chasing windows? That’s funny. As I recall, many of the features that I had on my PCLinuxOS system had the features that somehow ended up in Windows Vista/7 before they existed. I’d say it’s the other way around: Windows is leeching Linux/Mac. As always.

    3. Hardware support is easy. You take a few minutes and look up linux compatible hardware before you buy. Tada! Problem solved. Not that it’s very hard to get stuff working on the distro I use. I haven’t seen a problem yet with hardware on PCLinuxOS that wasn’t fixed within a couple days or weeks just by performing routine updates.

    4. I’ve been using PCLinuxOS since seven years ago now, and the worst it has ever done to “fail” to bring me to a desktop was that it made the resolution too low back in 2007. And that was easily fixed by opening the PCLinuxOS control center, clicking on “Configure Monitor”, selecting the resolution I wanted and clicking “OK”. Since then, it’s nailed the resolution every time a new version comes out.

    5. Inter-linux flame wars: They’re stupid. Ignore them. Figure out what you like, and use it.

    6. FOSS Purity: Give me what works. I have work to do. Philosophical purity is well and good, but let’s deal with reality.

    7. Taking over from Windows: The masses won’t come to Linux quickly. They’re happy in the dark. And I say, let them be. It makes no difference if they use Windows or Linux to me. I’m not stuck fixing their Windows computers anymore.

    8. You have a point.

    As for linux being for losers, well, it takes a moron to say that since most of the scientific community runs on it, most of the Internet runs on it, most colleges run on it (back end, at least) and most people who can think their way out of a wet paper bag prefer something other than Windows. Those who use Linux are the intelligentsia. Losers indeed.

  28. Kreature Says:

    I use linux for internet only. Other than browsing the web it serves no purpose and doesn’t do much well unless you are a master of the terminal and command line, the open source programs for linux are garbage in comparison to Windows programs, Linux has LMMS Windows has FL Studio, Reason, And Ableton, Which are far superior to any Music making application that Linux has to offer, as a matter of fact all Linux programs I Have tried are trash, so In conclusion if you all you want to do is surf the web use linux, if you want to do any kind of music making, gaming, or anything that requires a program Windows is the way 2 go, sure linux has the gimp for photo editing but in comparison to photoshop the gimp is trash, so Use linux if you are only interested in web surfing or if you are a command line genius,

  29. anonymous Says:

    All of the people here who are dogging on Linux simply don’t know how to use computers. Part of using Linux is understanding how the machine works underneath. You run into problems and you make it work, even if it was a pain, and the reward outweighs any hardship you may have gone through because you know YOU got it working, without dealing with something you couldn’t figure out thanks to the prevalence of proprietary shit. If people don’t want to learn enough about computers to mess with a Linux distro, well I can’t hate them, but it’s their loss, for never learning how the machine truly works, and putting themselves at the feet of those who would control their destiny for commercial purposes.

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