The State of Linux (Hint: Still Not Good)

I try to avoid talking tech on here. I get most of that out of my system during my day job. Yet, my recent foray into running Linux again has me needing to vent. Roughly a year ago, I switched over to Windows 7 for the sake of “it just works”. Now, a strong desire to continue on some of my hobby projects, as well as web and server-side scripting development has led me to reinstalling Linux. I tried the “linux in a vm” for a bit. Sadly, the performance just kinda sucked. A second linux partition is a lot cheaper than a kvm switch and new computer.

Who the hell took over development in the Linux world? When I left Gnome, KDE and friends were getting more usable and awesome by the day. Now, it’s like someone took a look at the user interface hall of shame, noted all the worst ideas, and puked them out onto a desktop. One would think with all the backing and developer support, the basic menu items would all be tested and work relatively well. Nope, I see random apps with text overflowing (leaving critical portions unaccessible in non-resizable windows), random installation failures when installing “gold” packages, and what appears to be a 5th rewrite of device management where I _STILL_ can’t easily browse detected hardware. Somehow, developers have managed to wade 10 years in the same shallow waters while Microsoft and Apple got their shit together and made some decent stuff.

Myopic developers and “UI designers” continue to piss all over the basic idioms “lusers” know, and ignore power users that want things simple. I’d be better with /etc being a mass of binary blobs with FUNCTIONING UIs, as opposed to randomly generated shell fragments with half-assed GUIs attempting to gather the pieces, happily trouncing changes I’d like to make in a sea of “GENERATED FILE DO NOT EDIT” comments. Then, we have the fun of a default theme that leaves me simultaneously straining my eyes to read anything at all and finding random windows with obnoxious huge text overflowing their overly tight boundaries.

Given the number of developers being paid to develop this shit, it’s shocking the complete advancement from high school and college students doing all the real work in the mid to late 90s. After being paid to do linux kernel development work for the day job, I know there’s some advancement going on under the hood. I also know that when writing a driver, 95% of your time is spent tracking random “fixes” in a source control system that makes IRS tax forms look user friendly.

So far, Linux Mint is proving at least moderately usable compared to the travesty that is Ubuntu and Unity. I’m looking for an alternative to Gnome3 currently – waiting for KDE and XFCE to install. If neither of those don’t work out – I’ve got some old backups of a fvwm95 configuration and a Debian stable download going.

Linux needs FUNCTION, not wiggly windows with drop shadows and a full OpenGL rendered spinning cube for a mouse cursor. I use my computer for work, not masturbating to graphics algorithms.

— Fate

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