It has been seven months since the last time i installed a linux distro on any of my computers, on disk, no virtual machines or timid tinkering with a LiveUSB. The adventure lasted me about a month. It was with Archcraft, an extremely minimalist Arch-based distro that honestly looks and works pretty great … but not enough.
I find it ironic that in the 20 years that I have been testing distros today I believe that The Linux desktop is at its best, and despite this it is probably when I have least wanted to use the system again on a daily basis. The reasons are obviously very personal, but I don’t think I’m the only one to whom these things happen.
Linux works (almost) perfectly, for (almost) everything
The detail is in the “almost”. If today you install a “mainstream” distro like Ubuntu or Linux Mint, to do basic things like surf the web, edit documents online, and access social networks, it is difficult to complicate your life much, but there is a possibility.
You may have some “special” needs that go beyond those “basic” activities. Sometimes Simple things like watching a video on Linux without lag can be a headache. Hardware acceleration of Chromium-based browsers is still lame to this day, and we know that the only popular browser left that is not based on Chromium is Firefox.
Graphics drivers from Nvidia and AMD are another drama, and experiences range from the most ideal to the most catastrophic. Although gaming in Linux lives a moment with thousands of games for Windows being compatible thanks to Valve’s ProtonThe reality is that all those “Gold” games that appear on ProtonDB can be a coin toss if the tricks and settings to be applied get too complicated.
Proton and Steam Play have definitely changed the world of Linux gaming to make it a valid possibility, it is really something phenomenal and in many cases you can have complete and painless experiences, but this will not be with all games. First of all today there are countless games that are simply not on Steam, and although there are options like Lutris that can help you with others launchers, the reality is that it is an additional layer of complication that many do not need or want.
Much sometimes depends not on what you want to use but also on your own computer and / or peripherals. It may happen that you have an old and weird laptop and it turns out that there is no controller for the WiFi, in which case you have almost a paperweight. These are things that I have experienced several times and why I still maintain that Linux is not always that great option to bring an old PC back to life.
Logi doesn’t feel like offering its software for Linux, and my MX Master 2 can’t be used as well on Linux as it does on Windows or macOS. This can happen to you with keyboards, webcams, audio interfaces, remote controls, headphones, etc. It is the same that happens with a lot of software, the number of Linux users is so insignificant in many cases that it does not justify the investment in support that a company has to make. It is a sad problem that goes in circles and circles.
But you haven’t tried …
Linux also has an almost intolerable fragmentation problem and a community that often sins as hateful. When you seek help or complain about something, the “solutions” that are offered many times start with “is that you have not tried x distro” and end with “is that you are stupid”. (See comments on this article for more information).
Even for those of us who have experience with “distro surfing” and even like to try new operating systems as a hobby, sometimes complications take away all the pleasure as you end up sifting through the computer just trying to make something work.
One of my all-time favorite distros, elementary OS has matured so much that it could really be a great alternative to Windows and macOS, but as magical as I remember it was my first experience with it more than 10 years ago, today it just isn’t. I can tolerate that I always have a glitch with my monitor resolution after every reboot. Only in this distro, always.
This kind of thing made me try other desktops like KDE, and what seemed disastrous a decade ago, today I consider perhaps the best Linux desktop today. KDE Neon strikes me as one of the best distros out there, and if a newbie asks me for a recommendation on getting started, I’d probably recommend something like this or Linux Mint with Cinnamon.
I don’t have time to try
We’re tired. I don’t think I’m the only person on planet Earth who feels that the last few years have collectively been more difficult than all the previous ones we’ve been here together. It makes me laugh how they always tell me that I complain a lot about Windows all the time, that Genbeta criticizes Microsoft for everything, and it is partly true.
Windows is not without its problems, by far. But I have noticed that we have become so demanding with the quality of the software in the last decade, that today we criticize things to Windows that a few years ago were normal.
We want the closest to perfection because we have chaotic lives, busy with a lot of external and internal worries, and asking someone who works all day in front of a computer to take out additional physical and mental energy from where perhaps there are not many reserves left to learn how to use an alternative to Photoshop in Linux, is probably asking a lot.
Editing photos is one of my favorite and most joyful hobbies lately, and I use Lightroom for that. You can ask me to use magic to grow a money tree and I will be as capable of doing it as I am. to Install Lightroom on Linux |. That there are alternatives, of course there are, that I want to learn from scratch to use something new with which I feel less comfortable … is another story.
If the entertainment industry had not made things like Netflix or Spotify, which are much simpler than downloading a lot of music, series and movies without permission, surely they would not have the hundreds of millions of users that these services have today. That is why I will continue dreaming of the day when going from Windows or Mac to Linux is as pleasant and simple as the Netflix button on my TV remote.
I hope the new generation, less exhausted (ha) and more eager to get out of the closed ecosystems of Microsoft and Apple, can we get closer to that. The community has accomplished great things in recent years, and while for me personally, the days of testing and testing may be over (perhaps not), I will never completely turn my back on Linux.