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.
Instead of some vague exposition of why Linux on the desktop sucks (which almost always comes down to: “it does things differently from Windows”), this article presents a very simple and clear list of things that are currently lacking or underperforming in the desktop Linux world. No vague idealistic nonsense, just a simple, to-the-point list of what’s wrong with desktop Linux, and what needs fixing.
Written between April 30 and May 18 2009, the document “discusses Linux deficiencies”, however, “everyone should keep in mind that there are areas where Linux has excelled other OSs”. The author also adds that “a primary target of this comparison is Windows.”
While most of the items on the list are fairly accurate and reasonable, there are a few things on there that seem debatable in my eyes. For instance, the note about Gtk+ and QT being unstable is not something I’ve personally experienced – to me, it appears that some applications are simply unstable without it having anything to do with the toolkits. I’m also not sure if bringing up Win32 as an example of a good API is such a wise idea.
The codec complaint is also an interesting one. The author states that there is a “questionable patents and legality status” on Linux (when it comes to some codecs, that is). It goes on to say that “US Linux users cannot play many popular audio and video formats until they purchase appropriate codecs.” I live in The Netherlands, so the DMCA can bugger right off into an abyss – I will install whatever codecs I need on Linux, “clean” or otherwise. No need for me to pay for anything, and I doubt any American Linux users care all that much about the DMCA either.
The list is filled with other interesting items, and I’m sure many Linux users here will be able to counter other points as well. As a result, use this opportunity to discuss the current state of Linux on the desktop (eh…), and of course also maybe introduce some projects or initiatives that might address some of the concerns on this list.