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What do you hate the most about GNU/Linux software?

Discussion in 'Technical Discussion' started by Rainer, Jan 30, 2011.

  1. Rainer

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    I'm trying to compile a specific list of issues regarding GNU/Linux software, and I figure this would be a good place to start. Feel free to complain about issues involving usability (X has a bad name, its user interface looks ugly, etc...), developer related problems (the code-base is non-modular, drivers have poor support, etc...), or anything else that concretely affects the quality of software. Complaints about how GNU/Linux solely comprises a bunch of stupid neck-beards*, how proprietary software is inherently superior to free software, how everything should be written in x86 assembly. and other obvious trolling attempts will be silently ignored.

    *However, complaints about how developers or the community tends to be nasty and anti-social when replying to issues are valid.
     
  2. Willie

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    When I was using Linux for about three weeks, I hated how a lot of things were far more difficult to install. In Windows, you just open an exe file and install the thing quickly. In Linux however, not as simple unless you're adding something through their add/remove program or some other thing I forgot the name of. Not only that, but if you're trying to install something made for Windows and try to get it to work well with Wine, it can be an absolute nightmare that could take many, many hours. For example, I absolutely love hte program foobar2000. I tried over ten different music programs and I didn't like a single one of them because I was so used to foobar's awesomeness. Good god, foobar2000 looks generic as hell and yet none of the programs I tried were anywhere near as nice as foobar2000. Basically, installing a lot of things I wanted to install was a pain in the ass to install on Linux.
     
  3. Impish

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    Eh, it's not as hard as it used to be now. Now, most Linux native programs have a deb repository, which makes everything easier to use if your using a debian based distro, and if its not in the default repositories, their will probably be a PPA of it.
    What I dislike is the lack of options to reset back to factory settings. That would be very useful, but no, if I want to clean up my computer I have to reinstall the distro.
     
  4. dust hill resident

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    If you want to do something other than web browsing and basic office work (for example music and etc), most of the software and tools seem half baked and lacking in functionality, and/or are hard to use with poor interfaces. There are some programs which are really good, but these are mostly cross platform things. I've ended up using wine to run many things.

    It also seems to be impossible to find a distro which is stable and works well, and also has up to date software. And the quality of distributions (and things in general, like GNOME) seems to be declining.
     
  5. Black Squirrel

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    I don't like the way the Linux community operates. The fact groups are constantly forking projects means that software is sometimes good, never great and often bad. But it's totally understandable that this would happen, as there's no money to dictate that a project should go in a certain direction in a given time.

    The fact that there's so many conflicting ideas leads to shoddy programs with people trying to reinvent the wheel at every turn. Inevitably people start to realise that a normal user doesn't want extreme levels of diversity, and hence things start to conform a bit more, but it'll never be on the same level as Windows/Macs because the only rule of thumb about Linux is that it's "free"... and even then, it doesn't technically have to be.

    But that doesn't bother me so much. I think it's nice to experiment, but it's not surprising that people aren't a fan of unfinished products.


    Things that can be fixed, however, is downright stupid decisions, namely those driven by bizarre ideals which are along the lines of "if you're not using Linux (though the terminal) you're scum". It's impossible to take the view that your OS beats Windows if it doesn't have a competant user interface for example, and I can't stand the attitude that primarily exists within the Linux community where an answer to a general programming or technical question is "get Linux". There are more ways to win than what's on the insides.

    In theory you can do all the things Linux does in Windows, and though it may not be to a Linux fan's pleasure, there is nothing wrong with some people having the opinion that Windows is better. Likewise it's no crime to favour Linux, but nobody has any right to convert people from one OS to another and I think some of the insane Linux crowd forget this. There are, however, figures to fight in Windows' favour - 90% of computer users use Windows - there has to be a reason for that. I'd love to see more Windows programs ported to Linux but I think a lot of developers are down-right confused about distributions and ethics.


    Oh and I personally dislike those prefixes. The Gs and the Ks and that weird "GNU/Linux" name that we all have to use to be "correct" and "get a point across". The people who tend to modify these programs in a technical way also tend to be those who look up its distribution license on their own - I think it's a bit pointless to tell people a program built for the Linux community is free. It's kind-of a given, and even if it isn't, a lot of the Linux community could probably force their way in if they wanted. But I think this is becoming slightly less common - Pidgin is a much nicer name than Gaim for example. "Freeware" does work both ways - not everyone jumps for joy at the idea of things being free - you do get that quality concern too.

    I also don't like Inkscape's refusal to obide by Windows' rules in the Windows port. No real reason for that. Same with having to install GTK on a Windows machine - if you're going to port the program to Windows and maintain this idea of bloat-free software, get it to use what we already have. But I suppose you could argue that it's all just a priveledge anyway.
     
  6. This. A good example is Ubuntu's odd decision to move the window controls to the left side of the window title bars. Although it's simple to move them back (thanks to the hundreds of guides out there explaining how to do so), I cannot figure out why they would take such a leap (and continue to run with it even after the backlash). That's one more thing I either have to fix or explain if I installed Ubuntu on an elderly relative's computer.

    Also, THIS. I used to die a little inside when I had to explain why I had a program called "The GIMP" on my desktop. It was a little amusing at first, but now some of the names are just... groan inducing.

    I used to be big on Linux, but when I started working on AV projects and such, it just didn't cut the mustard. An example is my capture equipment. Only a half-way completed kernel module exists (that didn't even compile when I did try it). Yeah, I know the whole "if you don't like it, learn to code and do it yourself" speech, but why should I when I can go to Windows, throw in the driver CD and be done with it? Don't get me wrong, I love to tinker with code, but sometimes it's just easier doing it in Windows.

    I do use some Linux-based applications (LibreOffice (OpenOffice) for example), and I use Linux on servers. For some people, Linux might work perfect on the desktop for them, but I'm just not one of those cases.
     
  7. Jan Abaza

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    So, you're looking for a specific list of programs and their specific issues? Because I see absolutely no general issue in GNU software as it was meant to be - because whenever something doesn't do what you expect it to do, in 90% of cases you'll be able to fix it, either by compiling from source for your machine and making manual adjustments or by asking for support on any affordable forum. Though it's true what doc eggfan says, quality of support for at least Ubuntu has decreased over the past year or so, for some reason. I'm...honestly not trying to troll or anything, but it's difficult to pinpoint a single common flaw because the programs aren't really uniformly built. You can still make them look however you want them in most cases, though...

    I guess the biggest flaw it's got it's the lack of software. I mean, this is no longer the Linux MS used to scare consumers with - complex installation procedures, no tech support and crappy window management options are all things of the past. For me, it's nice to work a little to get your program installed, that way I think twice before going on freeware sprees across the net and fill my HD with all sorts of useless applications in the process, but I'm weird, so. The way I see it, most of the problems listed in this thread persist because there is a lack of choice considering software - it gives programmers little incentive to, say, work out a competitive GUI...as there is so little to compete and compare against in the first place.

    GNOME is ...slow. Its tooklits are okay, but the panel and taskbar offer surprisingly little compared to the chunk of RAM they take for it. And the last I've heard of Ubuntu, they were going to ditch Metacity...did they? Because the whole Ubuntu Gnome and Metacity combo is one gigantic memory hog.

    Enormous Plug™: IceWM is the ultimate window manager. No matter what you burden it up with it's so bloody fast that you'll immediately forget it doesn't natively offer a desktop, transparent panel and different background pictures for separate viewing areas. It looks scary to have to edit a text file to configure your menu, BUT on the other hand, that same menu has native support for a pinch of scripting languages, meaning you can for example have a task manager right there, updating with the latest process info with options to send commands to the processes on click...or, with a different one, monitor and regulate stuff like CPU temperature in case of emergencies. It's even got pretty mean theming options if you're willing to doodle up some minimize/restore/close XPM icons or menu and taskbar backgrounds for yourself, because I'll be blunt, most of the available ones suck (most of them by trying to make it <a href="http://www2.arnes.si/~babaza/egg.png" target="_blank">look like windows</a>).

    It's got a problem, though. When you first install it, it looks like crap, and takes a while to get to look right. There's software to edit it, but regardless of the UI it's for some reason still easier to go and edit runtime text files. That's the general problem with Linux - switching over from Win to Lin in general requires kind of a paradigm shift in dealing with an OS, and I fully understand why many people reject it; so far it doesn't seem very much worth the effort. I'm positive an influx of Linux software (doesn't even have to be GNU or GPL or free in any case for all I care) would do wonders to expand its user base, though. The "no virus" part of the deal was the big seller for me, personally, but the "you forget your OS is there" is the reason I'm never going back.

    This Linux thing could definitely use some publicity that isn't Ubuntu (it deserves to look better than that). Publicity would bring greater feedback and more feedback will hopefully result in refinements.
     
  8. Meat Miracle

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  9. Techokami

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    Consistency. That's my biggest beef with the open source world: outside of the components that make up a core desktop environment, there is none.
    They don't seem to have any real Human Interface Guidelines to follow, like Microsoft and Apple have. And having two major toolkits competing for the spotlight along with 30 thousand others does not help either. Just pick a fucking toolkit and stick with it.
     
  10. Andlabs

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    That's the point of the desktop environments like KDE.

    My biggest problem with the open source world, aside from the bombasticness of its community (someone on the clamav forums once suggested marking all RARs as viruses; fortunately he was quickly shot down), is that "GNU's Not Unix" is taken seriously and we have a million pieces of software and a billion libraries which are either overpowered or have too many dependencies, not to mention autotools hell (and I have yet to see whether or not cmake and scons provide better alternatives — I haven't worked with them yet). Take a look at this:
    [​IMG]
    This is FreeBSD's dependency tree for gnome-lite. The <a href="http://people.freebsd.org/~adamw/gnome_kde_deps/kdebase3.png" target="_blank">kdebase3</a> dependency tree is much easier, but most package maintainers like to jumble all the KDE programs together in master packages like the KDE devs have it and it's not customizable this way. And then there's the command line programs with more options than you are ever likely to use. What happened to Unix elegance?

    Oh, and just to clarify: Android is open source but it is NOT a free platform. Carriers and manufacturers are free to leave out desired features of Android as they see fit with no way for an end user to bring them back — which is the exact opposite of free. People who call Android an open platform are either badly misinformed or intentionally lying. To that Tweeter who told Steve Jobs that "open" meant being able to build the kernel from source: please tell me how to put that on every Android-compatible phone.
     
  11. Sik

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    The whole autotools mess is because there are people who refuse to let the 1001 non-standard variants on the standard libraries die. Way to support the standard! Also compile-time settings. I honestly think this set up has been made exclusively to force people to build from source.

    Also, GUI libraries. Windows has the WinAPI, OSX has its own API too, why not Linux? X doesn't do any GUI duties at all and Wayland is essentially X without the rendering support.
     
  12. GerbilSoft

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    I don't get this argument. Yes, there are two major toolkits (GTK+ and Qt), but they're fundamentally different on a code level. On the GUI level, they work pretty much the same.

    Mac OS X also has two separate toolkits, Cocoa and Carbon, and Windows has multiple. (Win32, MFC, ATL, .NET WinForms, Silverlight, and the millions of custom toolkits different programs use themselves.) Clearly that means using either of these systems isn't very easy, either.
     
  13. Techokami

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    Except that it is really jarring to have a consistent UI using GTK suddenly have a Qt-based app appear that looks nothing like the rest of the desktop environment. The inverse is also true.
    What's annoying about this is that you can't make the Qt apps take on the GTK appearance. You can, through a clever hack, do the inverse, but the Qt themes are not that good, IMHO. That also seem to make things more unstable and bloated. There is also the issue of configuration: GTK apps usually are minimalistic, Qt apps let you configure every possible aspect, including things nobody would really want to change except those with OCD. And application names. God damn, nearly every single Qt app I see has the letter K in the front.

    Alright that's enough of me being a grumpy old geek today
     
  14. RamiroR

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    Holy crap. Now that's a mess.

    THIS. I can't agree with you even more! I think Qt would be okay. Also, X11 is CRAP. And GNU/Linux lacks general consistency. There are TONS of distros, about 4 different desktop enviroments, different packaging. I really think there should be one (or just less) distro(s) and they should take something and stick to it.
    Luckly wayland is on its way but others things have to change as well.

    I think GNU/Linux needs:
    -Wayland. Urgently.
    -Standard packaging system.(Or application bundles)
    -Stop wanting so much free drivers.
    -More Qt apps and less GTK ones.
    -HUMAN INTERFACE GUIDELINES please.
    -Standard visual theme.
    -Less distros.

    I know many of you are going to disagree with me but I just wanted to point out these things.
     
  15. Andlabs

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    Writing my own MD/Genesis sound driver :D
    This particular argument is rather dangerous; why up next

    Yes you can (and you can have it use Cleanlooks outside Linux too).
    Code (Text):
    1. QApplication::setStyle(new QGtkStyle);
    Can you explain this?

    IMHO GTK+ apps are under-configurable — not enough options. ghex2 and its derivatives don't let you specify how many bytes per row — something every other hex editor lets you do. You might have had a point about the Qt thing, except now I think you're starting to get Qt confused with KDE (which is designed around customization).

    Yep I was right, you're confusing Qt with KDE. There are plenty of Qt apps that don't use the KDE libraries.
     
  16. GerbilSoft

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    That would be because the GTK+ developers don't care about Qt and interoperability. Meanwhile, KDE 4.6 includes a GTK+-based Oxygen style, which makes GTK+ applications look the same as KDE/Qt applications.

    Are application names starting with a certain letter really annoying? How about "Windows Internet Explorer", "Windows Movie Maker", "Windows Explorer", "Windows Defender", "Windows Live Mail", and "Windows Live Messenger"? Is "Gens/GS II" a bad name because it starts with a G, hence it's automatically a GNOME application even though it's written using Qt and is cross-platform?

    Yes, X11 is crap for modern systems. Wayland is going to be used by default on Ubuntu 11.04, and I believe there will be a port of Xserver that runs on top of Wayland (similar to how X runs on Mac OS X), so it'll still be possible to run X11 applications during the transition period.
     
  17. SMTP

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    It'd be nice to beable to download something, and beable to use it right away instead of messing with reposteries for hours on end trying to figure out where the hell it puts shit.
     
  18. RamiroR

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    This. I want apps to be in bundles similar to OS X.
    I just realized that PC-BSD with wayland would be pretty cool.
     
  19. Sik

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    All of those systems are still built on top of the Windows API, which is ultimately what does the GUI stuff and also provides prebuilt standard controls. Neither X nor Wayland provide such a thing.
     
  20. RamiroR

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    What? Wayland on Ubuntu 11.04? Do they even have time to do so? I thought it was coming on 12.04.