Linux sucks… or rather it doesn't: please think before you speak

I’ve just found a fantastic article by Walter V. Koenning tackling the “issues” so many long-term Windows user have with Linux. Walter is utterly spot on with everything he says. I’m so tired of reading comments posted by utterly ignorant Windows users (you know, they call drug addicts users.. what’s that saying about us geeky types?) who, despite knowing nothing/very little about their OS of choice, feel free to attack Linux users with unfounded accusations and often pointlessly vulgar language.

Everyone has their comfort zones and no one looks upon the internet (and computers in general) in the same way. Most people don’t want to know how their software works, or the computer that powers it for that matter and this has lead to the idea that your OS should “just work”. In theory I applaud this, daily tasks such as checking your email, writing a document watching a video online shouldn’t be difficult and I agree. I strongly believe that, were a person who’d never used a pc before (maybe not never, explaining the keyboard, the mouse and their relation to the dancing images on the big box could take a little while but you get the general idea) to be presented with – for the sake of argument – a computer running Ubuntu they would, very quickly, be able to accomplish nearly any task asked of them. As Walter writes, “some users prefer spoon feeding” and he cites this as the most oft windows user complaint. I would have to agree. Users do what they’re used to doing. Having spent (probably) years using the same operating system, remembering how it is you get to the printer setup dialogue, stashed away in a folder somewhere, you begin to believe that is the “correct” and therefore the only way in which that task can be accomplished. If the program/OS in front of them does not respond in kind it is instantly branded as complicated or confusing and “wrong”. When actually, looked at objectively, it may be a more sensible layout: or in the very least not “wrong” – just different.

Having a preference as to how your computer and its programs interact and function is a good thing, not liking how Windows operated was one of the things that first gave me the incentive to see what was out there. However, shouting and swearing at people on public forums or comments on blog posts; declaiming that Linux is awful, without actually giving it a thought-out honest trial yourself is just childish. You share nothing more with the rest of the world than the fact you are lost, arrogant and nowhere near as tech-savvy as you claim to be. Just stop it. I think I speak for the entire Linux community when I say sod off.

Thankfully there is an entire generation of people who have learned that the environment is constantly shifting, the fundamentals always in flux, and these users have little problem jumping on to Ubuntu, or any popular Linux flavor, and getting it to work for them, regardless of the platform, the location or the application.

I couldn’t have put it better Walter. If you work, or even just follow, the tech-world as a hobby you can no longer afford to brush aside Linux and the Open Source revolution. Linux is here to stay and it’s going to keep getting better and better.

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One Comment

  1. August 25, 2009

    Hear hear. I’ve just switched the girlfriend to a mac and she’s finding it a bit difficult – she’s so used to having to take for example, five steps to get photos off her digital camera that the one step it takes on a mac (click on import in iPhoto) seems completely alien to her. Ah well, I’ll just show her how to do everything in the terminal, that will make her feel more at home!

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