Is Linux Desktop Ready for Mom and Pop?

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

Linux as desktop today is worse than Microsoft Windows or Mac of 2002.

No Acceleration for Mouse Wheel

• the mouse wheel don't have acceleration. So, for a web page that's few pages long, it's painful to scroll, or you have to move your hand over to the keyboard and press {PageUp, PageDown} keys. For example, if a page is 20 screenful, with accelerated scroll, you can hit top or bottom by about 4 quick rolls, and you can comfortably control the rate to stop at any position of the page. On Linux, you have to do 30 long swipe with the wheel to get to bottom. Thirty.

On Microsoft Windows, accelerated scroll comes with the driver of Microsoft mouse (or Logitech Mouses). (long pages are common. Most social network sites, Google Plus, Facebook, twitter, by default has long pages, and when you hit bottom it expands, aka infinite scroll.)

• worse, in Firefox or Google Chrome, there is no “autoscroll” feature. Without accelerated scroll, you can work around with autoscroll. That is, press middle button, then move mouse to pan-scroll. The rate is dependent on your mouse position. You can turn this on in Firefox, but not in Google Chrome (you need a extension).

(in fact, when you web search, you see lots of requests for accelerated mouse scroll. But, then you see Linux coding idiots of the opinion that it's confusing, not needed, or going into certain X11 technicalities on whether it should or shouldn't be a server/client feature, in full techno-mumbojumbo, just like 15 years ago they have one hundred reasons that GUI shouldn't be here and websites should all be plain text. Here's one from Google Chrome team: (local copy Google_Chrome_no_autoscroll_bug_report.txt ). They marked the bug report as “won't fix”!)

Useless Eject USB Drive Warning

linux xfce eject USB drive screenshot 2013-06-01
Linux Xfce eject USB drive screenshot

For detail, see: Linux Idiocy: Eject USB Drive Warning .

Huge Gap Between Thumbnails in Nautilus

so, i was looking at my folder, and the icons are too small, so i hold Ctrl and scrolled the mouse wheel to magnify. But, it leaves a huge gap between thumbnails, so that i can only see a handful of the images.

linux screenshot nautilus 2 icon gap 2013-02-12
Gnome folder viewer, Nautilus. Leaving huge gaps between icons.

searching the web, you find others complaining about this, and the Linux geeks are saying about freedom of choosing different certain “file managers”.

What type of Linux programing idiot that couldn't possibly see the gap as a problem?? Nautilus has been around for a decade? Apple's OS X didn't have this problem even back in 2003. For 10 years, none of the Linux hackers see fit to fix this problem?

linux screenshot thunar icon gap 2013-02-12
Xfce folder viewer, Thunar. Properly done.

Xfce Problems

The following applies to xfce desktop, but the problems described basically applies to Ubuntu Unity and others as well. [see Linux: How to Switch to LXDE, Xfce]

• the 5 or so standard launch buttons on keyboard: {browser, mail, search, folder, calculator, eject}, don't work by default.

• the prev/next song buttons don't work by default. Whole set of multimedia buttons don't work, except the mute, sound level up/down.

• The mute key doesn't work! It'll mute, but pressing it again, it shows sound is back but the sound isn't back!

(the set of launch button and multimedia keys has been standard in keyboard and USB protocols since at least late 1990s.)

• when music is playing, then mute button is pressed, but when unmute is pressed or sound level is adjusted, the music player still no sound, unless you go to the music player and restart the song.

• when music is playing, and you shutdown your machine. When starting next time, your audio is broken. That's right, no sound for anything.

• Linux audio constantly break. After waking up from hibernation, audio broke. No more sound for you! Restart machine to fix.

has anyone wondered why Linux desktop is still not for mom and pop? didn't they try really really really hard for a decade? and the Ubuntu idiots created fancy Unity with “revolutionary” HUD feature, and Linux tech geekers created beautiful compiz?

I no unstand. Isn't the above problems patently clear? and should be 10 years ago? Are these issues terribly difficult to implement??

next time, when you hear a Linux enthus mouthing how Linux desktop is usable, or a site doing some Linux Desktop comparative review with Mac or Windows, they must be smoking something.

it's a bit strange. 10 years ago, Mac just works, Windows is annoying but works, and Linux, the new kid on the block under the limelight (Slashdot!), is doing intensive catchup. Rumor has it that Microsoft might be out of business in few years. Now, 10 years has passed. Seems, Mac still just works, Windows is still just annoying but works, and Linux is still not usable.

I clearly remember, how when Nautilus (file manager) and Gnome is developed, with Novell, and other backings, how it's gonna revolutionize the desktop. And, KDE, Gnome, etc. How Sun Microsystems is switching to Gnome for Solaris, etc. Now, actually using Linux desktop, i don't think it's better than Mac or Windows of even a decade ago. And i've tried the browser of KDE, it cannot be possibly worse. [see Konqueror Browser Sucks]

the above didn't even touch installation issues. [see Ubuntu Linux Install Error: “'grub-install /dev/sdb' failed”]

How Linux Desktop Sucks?

we know it sucks. But how it sucks?

in Mac or Microsoft Windows, you restart your machine and say you went bed. When you wake, you press a key to wake your minotor, then you login.

in Linux, your monitor is bright and staring at you. Apparently, the sleep daemon doesn't kick in until your login.

this is “Linux xah-p6813w 3.5.0-47-generic #71~precise1-Ubuntu SMP Wed Feb 19 22:02:52 UTC 2014 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux”, running xfce.