Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 18th May 2009 19:06 UTC
Linux We all know them. We all hate them. They are generally overdone, completely biased, or so vague they border on the edge of pointlessness (or toppled over said edge). Yes, I'm talking about those "Is Linux ready for the desktop" articles. Still, this one is different.
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by mtilsted on Sat 23rd May 2009 16:45 UTC
mtilsted
Member since:
2006-01-15

Let's comment from the beginning:
One problem is that some of the problems he mentions are distro specific and not general, but anyway.

1.*:
Yes Audio on linux have been a mixed bag, but have this ever been a problem for users who don't need to do audio work? I mean my linux distribution got a nice volume control at the kde bar at the bottom. That is all that I have ever needed as a user(And the exact same thing I used on windows)

2.1
While win32 may be a stable api, calling it high quality is insane(And yes I have developed a c++ applitation against win32. Not fun or effective.

I can't mention a single large application that only use win32 for the gui toolkit. (Remember win32 is so bad that it don't even include a split pane).

But here is a list of applications that do include a non standand toolkit.
Anything adobe have ever made(Photoshop and so on).
Microsoft office. Oracle. Firefox, All the games.

And I don't think that the Qt often break backwards compatibility. The last time they really did that was from QT3 to QT4. And you can install qt3 and qt4 together so this should not be any problem for the user. An application written for QT4.0 should not have any problem running with a QT4.4 library.

2.2 Very slow gui, unless you run the binary only drivers for your graphics card. (Which is exactly the same as on windows. Windows is also very slow if you don't install the binary only drivers). If you install the drivers, the gui is as fast as on windows(Only testet on nVidia, don't know about ati/amd).

2.3: Which importent GUI operations are not accelerated? Text antialias may not be, but who cares as long as my 5 year old cpu can do it so fast that no slowdown is noticed?

2.5 What??? Qt does double buffering. (And yes it is supported by the X server too).

3.2: You can just skip the package installer, and ship the software as a ready to install tar.gz archive. PostgreSQL(Yes the opensource db), firefox, openoffice and a lot of other applications does this.

3.3: This one is unfair. You were talking about points where windows were better then Linux, but windows don't have all opensource software either. (Just a funny note. Synthesia is a 'guitarhero look-a-like' for keybords. Its binary is windows only, but getting the software to work with a software-midi-player(TiMidity) is more easy on Linux with wine then it is on windows. And this is for a native Windows application.

3.4-compilers: How does this differ from windows, where you got 4 different compilers and don't even know how microsoft and whatever 3.party library you use are compiled? And why do you care. We do have a fixed c abi which really have not been changed in many years.

3.4-different libraries versions
How does this differ from windows? If you depend on a a special non-standard library you can bundle it yourself(Or do a static link). Just like on windows. Just for fun, try to se how many mfc*.dll files there is on a Windows. (Last time I used windows, the answer were 11).

4: Examples, please? My linux distribution may have some things that can't be configured with a gui. But I have not found them yet. Anything I need to configure, such as network setup, screen-resolution and so on have been configured from the gui.

8.1: And you can do this easy from windows?
Remember the premis is(Or should be) that windows is ready for the desktop.

9.1: While the linker is bad, I don't think that is the problem here. Remember that wine is mostly a wrapper to native linux calls/libraries so running the openoffice with wine, should not require less linking then running openoffice native. The problem is most likely that the windows version of openoffice have been much more optimized, similary to for example firefox, which run faster on windows then linux, because they used profile-guided optimization on windows, but not on linux.

12: Is this different from windows, or are you trying to prove that windows is not ready for the desktop either?

13.1 The only old application I have ever had to run were Sas and java 1.1. Both worked perfect on a distribution made 10 years after the application.

This might be a problem for other applications, but one that by definition is impossible to solve now, because the old applications are already written, and we can't change them. But you could say that this have been solved, because it is most likely that binaries relased today are likely to run 15 years from now.

13.2: That should not happend. Got any examples of libc versions where this is a problem?

What most likely happens here is that the application is not source code compatible but is using autoconf or similary to rewrite the source code to match the installed libc. And the rewritten code which get compiled are not source code compatible with the old libc. So you might change this point to:

Using autoconf to manage the differences between linux distributions are bad.

Edited 2009-05-23 16:52 UTC

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