Hi everyone! I’ve been giving Linux a lot of praise lately, but as you may have summised, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. So, I’m going to address some of the dark sides of Linux to counterbalance all the praise I give it.
First I’m going to mention the most obvious, in the grand scheme of Operating Systems, Windows and Mac on the desktop/laptop side and Android and iOS have the majority of the market share. As such, some software developers don’t think it’s worth their time and the potential costs to create and maintain an extra version for Linux.
This isn’t nearly as true now as it was a few years ago, as Linux has been slowly on the rise for quite some time now, but it’s still very much true. Just look at AAA games and Adobe software suites for a perfect example.
Surprisingly enough, printers are also a good example of this, specifically multi-function and all-in-one printers. If you just want to print, almost all printers work with Linux thanks to the CUPS package. The problem, however, comes with things like scanning.
This is because the majority of printer companies use non-standardised protocols and/or proprietary software for these ‘secondary’ functions, which make it very difficult for people in the Linux community to port them to Linux.
I’ve discovered that Linux communities aren’t always all they’re made out to be. Sure, they publish ports for apps and make new apps to make things easier, enable new features and more all the time, and that is helpful. Some even make support articles and they can vary in effectiveness but are usually very helpful, as well.
The problem comes when you need to make a forum post, ask for help in an IRC channel, etc. If you get a response at all in these settings, they are often “RTFM” which stands for “Read the F***ing Manual” or something similar and this is really disappointing because Linux has so much to offer if the existing users could just support new or potentially switching users to learn the differences between Mac or Windows and Linux.
This ties in with my last point to a degree, but between the communities based around the various distro’s, there is a ridiculous amount of elitism.
The two main culprits for this are the Ubuntu and Arch communities, but it exists in all them sadly. These elitists swear by their respective distro and say things like “all users should use my distro!”, “my distro is better than all these X based distro’s!” and so on.
Which, if you think about it, is ridiculous. Using a base like Debian Stable, Arch or Ubuntu server, you can literally build 99% of all distro’s on your own. All a distribution is, is a specific collection of software and repositories with customised configurations.
I’ve even seen at least one person emulate Linux Mint using Arch Linux, which are two completely separate distributions and highlights just how universal distributions really are.
Granted, that particular distribution had integration problems with some of the Arch Linux programs, namely the package manager, PacMan, because things like Mint’s update manager and software sources dialog are hard-coded to work with APT, not PacMan. But the point still stands. With a little bit of love and dedication, any distro can become basically any other.
So, there you have it. My take on the darker side of Linux. I hope you enjoyed seeing Linux in a more real-world type of context. I’ve got more on the way for you so stay tuned!