Linked by David Adams on Mon 24th Aug 2009 09:21 UTC
Linux A reader asks: Why is Linux still not as user friendly as the two other main OSes with all the people developing for Linux? Is it because it is mainly developed by geeks? My initial feeling when reading this question was that it was kind of a throwaway, kind of a slam in disguise as a genuine question. But the more I thought about it, the more intrigued I felt. There truly are a large amount of resources being dedicated to the development of Linux and its operating system halo (DEs, drivers, apps, etc). Some of these resources are from large companies (IBM, Red Hat, Novell). Why isn't Linux more user-friendly? Is this an inherent limitation with open source software?
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First of all, X is a hot mess. It's 20+ years of trying to be everything to everybody, and as a result has way too much code in it for a windowing system. Don't go on a tirade about how X is not just a windowing system, I know what X is.

I really don't think you do.

A core group of developers starting with a clean slate can come up with something much, much better than It will be much smaller, much more focused, much more defined by that small group of coders, and will integrate with the host os much, much better than X ever could.

A small group of developers could come up with another graphics layer. In fact this has happened several times already. The reason we don't use them are many including that they mostly have no compelling advantage over X.

Again I ask, what would replacing X actually get you? Please do not throw in generalizations and hand waving about 'cohesiveness'. X doesn't have a jot to do with that (nor does Quartz, nor does GDI).

Second, guys like you need to get out of your parent's basement more often. You take this stuff way too seriously. Really? You get that upset because I made a disparaging remark about your beloved

What leads you to believe I was upset?

I will always object to you and other people who frequently and loudly complain about X and cite it as the cause of a wide variety of problems which have nothing to do with X. Here's an analogy for you: "I don't like the way cars pollute, I think we should use square wheels instead." Can you see that changing the type of wheel does not fix the problem that I have, namely pollution?

Do some homework and give me some solid reasons why that aged, fat dinosaur is preferable to a clean, new design.

Why don't you do some research and give me some solid reasons why new code is better than old code in general. Old does not mean bad. GCC is pretty old, you know, and yet it remains one of the best compilers in existence. There are serious advantages to a well known and well tested codebase with broad support.

Here, I will get the ball rolling: Everyone already supports X. Okay! I have given you one actual, real, practical and important reason not to get rid of X. Can you give me one why we should? If you can I'll give you another and maybe we can get somewhere.

If you're so worried about your desktop eyecandy don't be.

I don't give a damn about desktop eyecandy. People who want to throw out X often cite eyecandy as a reason to it, often citing OS X as an example of how a new GUI layer allows for good eyecandy. What they don't understand is that Quartz does not have something radically special and different that makes its eyecandy smooth and pleasing, it just has a couple of specific features X mostly doesn't have *yet*, but which are being added.

Why would you want to throw out X in favor of a new, broken, badly designed and ill conceived replacement just to gain a feature you are getting anyway?

Like I said, if you are going to reply and claim that we should throw out X because we need more eyecandy... here's your dunce cap, go sit in the corner. If you were not and are not repling with that claim then this does not apply.

Apparently it isn't that tough. Amiga OS 4 and MorphOS integrate that crap into more cohesive GUIs than anything X provides, that are also much smaller libraries of code and have a much smaller impact on system resources in the host system.

I will say this again, slowly, so that you will get it: X is just a graphics layer, it is not intended to provide a "cohesive GUI." Whatever that is. Few people and almost zero applications use X drawing primitives directly. Replacing X with another system that does not enforce policy will not gain you one thing. Not one! Adding policy to X would be a better solution, but nobody is going to agree on that.

Loosen your underwear and get a life.

Why do you assume that I have no life merely because I don't agree with you? Since you disagree with me, and replied to me, mustn't I also assume that you have no life? I think this follows.

I'm still waiting to hear why it is X needs to be replaced.

Edited 2009-08-25 18:25 UTC

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