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Linux Just Doesn't

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I don't know what's been going on lately, but all the 8-odd Linux distros I've been trying out have ended in either the OS losing its mind or my boot record exploding (for the 10th time). I actually like Linux when its working, but it just doesn't. It comes apart at the seams from normal use. The last straw was when I installed Linux Mint onto another partition and it obliterated my boot sequence to the point where random behavior would result every time I turned my laptop on! Even inside of a VirtualBox it has a hard time keeping sane. All I did was put the CD in and click the install button, I wasn't doing anything strange and I tried only the "stable" releases.

Contrast this to when I inserted the Windows OS CD in to start the recovery console, and two calls to BootRec.exe and I'm back. I haven't owned a piece of computer hardware that I couldn't just insert Windows 7 and it works. I don't have to waste hours Googling around forums for 20 command-line solutions that all don't work and make things worse. I don't have to worry about things running under four different GUI systems and three different audio systems. Even networking tasks like making a bridge is easy and hassle-free in Windows 7 (you hold CTRL, click the interfaces you want to bridge, right click and then click bridge- you're done). In Linux I tried three different methods that took forever and didn't work.

I used to rave about how fun Linux was to use a couple years ago, and even wrote some tutorials on game programming for it. But that was then when the damned thing actually worked! Even Windows Vista just boots up and shuts up fine- even with all its problems. And this is my laptop, the Linux kernel itself panics on boot for my desktop.

In the end, with Windows I press the power button and I can get work done. I'm not spending 40% of my power-on time trying to fix random things that break on their own. I think these days, you need to buy specific hardware in advance that works with a particular distro and use only that on the machine if you need Linux.

Now don't go posting about how there's this distro "that really works unlike the rest" because I've tried all of those. It's not like I'm some OS fan raving, I really would have liked a working Linux laptop since I actually know how to use Linux. I even know (more than I wanted to) how to repair Linux problems, I'm just sick of having to every day. I'm sick of having to spend 30 minutes trying to get Flash to work again, or my WiFi going in and out, or whatever. All I wanted was to turn this thing on and relax.

Even Windows 8 with its horrid UI and design choices, I can actually expect the product to work when I put it in.

19 Comments On This Entry

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TheITNinja Icon

15 April 2012 - 03:12 AM
I can't speak for your experiences. And I do not doubt what you say.

From my experiences, I have installed Linux Mint on my Dell 430 laptop. I have had zero issues, its now coming up to 1 year operation.
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Sergio Tapia Icon

15 April 2012 - 08:14 AM
That should be the linux tagline:

"It's awesome - when (if) it works."

You mirror my exact experiences with Linux every 10 months when I give it another go. It's just not a fit for my usage, I waste too much time fixing crap I shouldn't even have to worry about. :P
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HealyHQ Icon

15 April 2012 - 08:34 AM
I also cannot speak for your experiences. I switched to a purely Linux-based workflow in 2009 and have been using it ever since. No problems to report.
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jon.kiparsky Icon

15 April 2012 - 09:23 AM
Cannot replicate.
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raspinudo Icon

15 April 2012 - 10:34 AM
Interesting, I have been using Linux for five years and my experience is quite the opposite. I have had nothing but trouble when it comes to Windows. Currently, my favorite stable distro is CrunchBang Linux, which is based off of Debian Squeeze.
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tonysharp Icon

15 April 2012 - 11:40 AM
For a second I thought this was a post I had written. I've gone through the same problems with Linux so many times, especially when I tried to use it for my photography work. Now that most of my work is programming it's easier to use, but I still run into problems with video and usb compatibility. And having options is great, but having too many is a burden. After "beta testing" KDE, Classic Gnome, Gnome Shell, Unity, Xfce, Lxde, and so on, I settled on Gnome Shell. But after switching video cards, I had to switch back to Unity because Gnome Shell isn't compatible with my on board video card. >_<
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AVReidy Icon

15 April 2012 - 01:32 PM
I had a bad experience with Kubuntu at first (partially because the bootloader removed my ability to boot with windows), but I ended up really liking the OS in general because KDE was a nice change from Unity. Linux Mint worked fine for me as a dual boot, but I don't like the OS much (the UI bothers me). Ubuntu is pretty stable in my opinion... but it's not as exciting as even its KDE counterpart because it's so simple and stable like Windows and Mac OS. I enjoy Linux, and I've been using a Linux-only laptop for almost month now, but I'll probably end up dual booting my current Ubuntu with Windows so I can design Java Swing UIs the way most people would see them, and so I can play Guild Wars 2.
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Vexx Icon

15 April 2012 - 02:44 PM
This has a been a topic of great discussion for around a year or so. As it turns out Linux is having more hardware compatibility issues than ever. The newer the hardware, the higher chance that it will be unusable without an insane work-around. You can take an old thinkpad or something similar, throw Linux on it and it just werks. Try that with some newer hardware (e.g: Amd Video Cards) and it turns to crap and can't recognize anything. This very same problem that you are having is what is turning long time Linux users away and pushing them towards Win7 and OSx.
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wordswords Icon

15 April 2012 - 05:51 PM
Linux has always taken more effort to administrate and setup the way you want it to be. I have a Linux install running on this machine, my main desktop, and I haven't had any problems with it. But then I have 13 years Linux experience. If you are not as comfortable on the command line and generally configuring everything, then you are bound to struggle, even today in the world of supposedly 'easy' distributions such as Ubuntu.
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raspinudo Icon

15 April 2012 - 07:37 PM
I built my desktop about a year ago and it runs without issue, must have gotten lucky. For reference the specs are AMD phenom II 965, 8gb ddr3, nvidia gtx560, gigabyte 990fx board
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ishkabible Icon

15 April 2012 - 07:57 PM
custom desktops are going to tend to run perfectly becuase the parts have to conform to long standing standards. laptops don't do that, I have yet to own a laptop I could run Linux on and have networking for instance. My desktop on the other hand runs it without issue.
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jon.kiparsky Icon

15 April 2012 - 08:53 PM
More out of curiosity than for long-term use, I've installed various flavors of Ubuntu, Mint, Slackware, and a few others on various laptops (three Dells of varying vintages and a Sony netbook) over the last few years. There was a little bother with the wireless on the Sony, there wasn't a driver when I did the install. When I tried it again a few months later, there was a driver and now it works fine.

Maybe I've just been lucky, but I just haven't had this problem.
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WolfCoder Icon

16 April 2012 - 09:47 AM

wordswords, on 15 April 2012 - 06:51 PM, said:

Linux has always taken more effort to administrate and setup the way you want it to be. I have a Linux install running on this machine, my main desktop, and I haven't had any problems with it. But then I have 13 years Linux experience. If you are not as comfortable on the command line and generally configuring everything, then you are bound to struggle, even today in the world of supposedly 'easy' distributions such as Ubuntu.


If you had read my article, you would understand I know the art of Linux-Fu and have used it for a long time. I even know how to fix all of my problems, the point is I shouldn't have to fix problems with my OS every day.
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wordswords Icon

16 April 2012 - 02:30 PM

WolfCoder, on 16 April 2012 - 09:47 AM, said:

wordswords, on 15 April 2012 - 06:51 PM, said:

Linux has always taken more effort to administrate and setup the way you want it to be. I have a Linux install running on this machine, my main desktop, and I haven't had any problems with it. But then I have 13 years Linux experience. If you are not as comfortable on the command line and generally configuring everything, then you are bound to struggle, even today in the world of supposedly 'easy' distributions such as Ubuntu.


If you had read my article, you would understand I know the art of Linux-Fu and have used it for a long time. I even know how to fix all of my problems, the point is I shouldn't have to fix problems with my OS every day.


Well.. I certainly don't have problems with my Linux install every day. I get to a stage where it is configured and working as well as I want it, and then I just use it. Linux is always going to be more work than other operating systems. But surely you knew that before you installed it?
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DaneAU Icon

16 April 2012 - 07:04 PM
I know exactly what you are talking about WolfCoder, i recently did the same as you and tried a few distro's out as i am not a fan of unity and thought a move might be in order. I totally destroyed my windows drive for some stupid reason for the bootloader being installed on the drive set first by the bios not the drive i was installing nix to. I then came up with numerous bugs, sluggish operation and lost a whole lot of important data. Needless to say i was fuming and am at the end of my teather with the attitude of linux these days. Its moved away from its core focus a little to much ~ especially the bigger vendors. Administration of the system is easy once you are up and running, the installers on many simply didn't do exactly what they said they would and the systems installed generally were bulky, sluggish and damn ugly on initially inspection. I have now gone for a trimmed down version of ubuntu 10.04LTS as i hate all the newer ones.
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WolfCoder Icon

16 April 2012 - 08:21 PM

Quote

Linux is always going to be more work than other operating systems. But surely you knew that before you installed it?


There's the good kind of work I wanted out of Linux (like where you can make a fine-tuned virtual firewall box) and the bad kind of work (like constantly having to re-install, reconfigure and duct-tape-script the system back to a stubborn level of sanity).
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reaper4334 Icon

17 April 2012 - 09:18 AM
I wouldn't say it's Linux, specifically.
On all of my computers I have a Windows OS and a Linux OS, and I find the Linux ones seem to be more stable. Mainly on my desktop, Windows 7 doesn't support some of my hardware due to lack of drivers and on my netbook Windows 7 Starter constantly crashes, even when just reading forums on the internet.
But then I also have issues with my multi-touch touchpad on my laptop when using Linux, having to run a set of command-line scripts every time I boot to enable it to work properly.

I think it pretty much just depends on one's viewpoint, hardware and needs, to determine which they personally find works best or is more stable.
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WolfCoder Icon

17 April 2012 - 03:07 PM

Quote

netbook Windows 7 Starter constantly crashes, even when just reading forums on the internet.


Install one of the normal ones (Windows 7 Home / Windows 7 Professional) on it blank and fresh. It'll run much faster and easier since I assume it's one of those Intel ATOM netbooks. All machines off the shelf pre-loaded with Windows are also pre-loaded with shitware. If there existed such a thing as common consumer pre-assembled Linux machines, they would get pre-loaded with the same junk.

Windows 7 automatically installs the correct video adapter for it's Intel Graphics Media Adapter too, whatever it may be.
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motcom Icon

26 April 2012 - 08:26 AM
Well i had my share with Ubuntu, we just wanted to implement a simple backup machine but I sat for hours trying to get it to do as I want it to. Getting the Desktop version up and running after downloading it was fine the one moment. After struggling for hours getting the IP config setup correctly (as we have multiple VPN's) I decided lets redo the machine, for there on there was no way i could get the desktop version loaded and at the end we opted for Windows 2008 with IIS which can be extremely horrible when you do things wrong there, especially if exchange and sharepoint are messing with it too. But yeah, Windows was the way to go. It has been 10 years ago since I last worked on Linux (Red Hat) and that seemed to be such a cool machine. We did not have the pleasure of a desktop at our company back then... Well just my 2 cents about the story.
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