on Jan 8, 2013
This weekend I installed both Windows and Linux in some kind of dual-boot situation. So now I’ve had a chance to use the two systems side-by-side so I can make a proper apples-to-Macintosh type comparison. I’ve installed both and I’ve used both, and I’m ready to offer Linux some constructive criticism. It’s a good attempt at an operating system, but they need to make some changes if they want to beat Windows.
Linux Doesn’t Reboot Enough
I’m not sure how they managed to mess up something as simple as rebooting. I mean, it’s just restarting the computer. It’s like a blue screen of death that skips the blue screen.
When I installed Windows the process worked properly: The installer looked at my computer for a long time, then copied some files and rebooted. Then it had another long ponder before rebooting again. Then it booted into Windows, announced there were critical updates, and asked to boot again. Then once I installed my graphics drivers it wanted another boot. I guess my only complaint is that it stopped to ask about that fourth reboot. That was kind of odd. I mean, why would I say no?
On the other hand, the Linux installer feels like it’s missing parts or something. I ran the installer and it rebooted just once, right into Linux. After that I installed some updates, but the machine still didn’t ask to reboot itself. It just sat there like it was ready for me to start using it. I waited ten minutes just to be sure, but it never did ask to restart.
Eventually I had to bring in the laptop and reboot that, just so I could feel like the job was done properly.
Linux Doesn’t Remind Me About Things
Look, I can’t be expected to keep track of all the complicated stuff the computer needs me to do. That’s what notification popups are for. I’ll be sitting there, writing a document or surfing the web, oblivious to the sea of problems going on behind the scenes. Then a little popup appears to save me from my unbridled productivity and let me know that there’s an update wizard waiting to be run, or that I need to set up the update wizard so that it can remind me to run it later. Or perhaps I need to download and install the update wizard so that it can remind me to set it up to remind me to run it. That’s a lot of stuff to keep track of, and without notifications I’d never be able to keep up.
Linux doesn’t do any of this for you. Oh sure, there’s a little shield on the Panel (that’s what Linux people call the taskbar) that shows a green checkmark if everything is okay and something else if it isn’t, but you have to remember to look down there yourself. Plus, that shield thing is only good for critical stuff like software upgrades. It doesn’t ever help you out with advice on desktop icon placement, or how you manage your toolbar, and I guess I’m supposed to keep track of virus scanners by myself and remember to do my own backups? How can anyone work like this?
Linux Doesn’t Boot or Shutdown Properly
Everyone knows that properly booting a computer takes several minutes, and shutting one down takes a couple more. We don’t know why, and we don’t know what sort of mysterious things are happening when that red disk access light is flickering. All we do know is that these things are terribly important. Everyone knows this.
Everyone except the people running Linux apparently, because they decided to cut some corners when it comes to starting up and shutting down. I’d say they got rid of half the stuff the computer does at startup. And shutdown? They just skip the whole thing. You tell the machine to shut down and it just does it right then and there, without sitting at a logo screen for a couple of minutes. It’s like they thought we wouldn’t notice little details like this.
Linux Software is Like, Weird and Stuff
I hope you’re not going to try to get anything done on Linux, because it doesn’t have any software. You want Internet Explorer? Nope. Notepad? Nope. Minesweeper? Missing. New Hardware Detection Setup and Driver Install Wizard? MIA.
Oh sure, Linux users will tell you about “alternatives”. Instead of Internet Explorer they have goofy off-brand programs like Firefox and Chrome. And their Notepad knockoff is strange because it has all these strange things like formatting, fonts, and spellchecking.
There’s this huge library of software out there that you can download through their own proprietary downloader. They don’t even charge you money for it, which means it’s all pirated.
Linux Doesn’t Have the Genuine Advantage
For years I’ve been typing these huge codes into Windows when I install it. Yes, they’re long and hard to type and it’s kind of annoying, but that’s the cost of getting a Genuine Advantage. Linux doesn’t have anything like this. They couldn’t even be bothered to add in a little one. Clearly Linux has no advantage at all.
So that’s Linux. Frankly with software this bad I can’t imagine how Linux manages to stay in business.
Thanks so much to all of the helpful, friendly feedback on this post. If you’d like to comment on this post, please go here and let me know what you think. Thanks!
Shamus Young is an old-school OpenGL programmer, author, and composer. He runs this site and if anything is broken you should probably blame him.