Ubuntu Sucks Like a Shopvac and Other Linux Rants
by Walter V. Koenning, for the reallylinux.com Op/ed section.
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Almost 100 articles and blogs on the
topic of “ubuntu sucks” were published in the past month
alone, and about as many were published that unequivocally state
Windows is better than Ubuntu.
But upon closer examination, I found that
a substantial portion of these negative reactions to Ubuntu stem from unrealistic
Almost all of the hurdles people seem
to have when switching from Windows to Ubuntu appear to be errors in judgment and
assessment, rather than actual problems with the OS.
Unfortunately, as humans our tendency
is to judge new experiences solely on the basis of previous ones. We
determine likes and dislikes not necessarily on merit or logical
analysis, but rather on familiarity and comfort.
Therefore I uncover four core reasons
why Ubuntu is still getting a negative wrap today:
The first issue is the
Most of the negative threads, articles,
and blogs I've read are people talking about a first impression of a
TOTALLY NEW OPERATING SYSTEM in the context of having used a
different one for years.
As one blogger writes:
Tasks that I found to be very simple in Windows seemed very cryptic in Linux.
It is a bit over the top to think that someone
who has used Windows for years can in a few minutes get
acclimated to a totally new operating system. The irony is that EVEN
after so many years of experience, most Windows users can indeed shift to
Linux, because it is just that damn easy to use.
Obviously, if you have experience with
something for years, it is easy to forget those first impressions
long ago when for instance Windows did not seem intuitive or very useful. Allowing
some reasonable time for acclimating to the Ubuntu environment often
leads to a far more realistic appreciation for what it can do. At least it makes the comparison more realistic.
Second is the non-comparison comparison
Another common complaint is that
Ubuntu, or for that matter any Linux distro, is hard to install. As
if these same people actually ever installed Windows.
What are they comparing it to? Linux
is hard to install, in comparison to installing a new dish towel hook
with sticky back?
Let's be sure about one thing, if you
have actually installed both Windows AND Linux, it is impossible to
miss the point. Linux is far easier and faster to install. This
There is only one reason left why Windows exists should open
the eyes of anyone still doubtful of this reality.
Comparing the difficulties between
installing an OS you've never installed with one you just finished
installing is a bit odd at best.
The reality is that one day that
Windows OS is going to fail. When it does, most Windows users will
This takes me to the third point.
- call a computer repair service and
remain unaware of anything other than the bill
- decide it is “time to buy a
new computer” as if the OS dictates the hardware's lifecycle
- or try a Linux installation.
Third is that Windows issues are oft ignored
Fundamental functionality in Windows
tends to fail over time. Issues occur for many reasons, and they
often include: the user did not manage system restore correctly, or
the user failed to initiate disk defragmentation routinely, or the
user just failed to wait before forcing the system to shut down.
There are numerous suggestions on
thousands of boards for poor Windows users who suddenly can't reboot,
or have a Windows system that won't shutdown, or are still waiting in
the 14th hour for System Restore to “finish loading
the restore point.” Thousands of examples of evidence that the
Windows OS can and does encounter anomalies.
And as ironic as it sounds, the
solutions for some of these fundamental Windows failures are often FAR
more cryptic and technical than anything that would get posted to an
For example, you will find detailed
explanations of how to manually modify numerous registry keys, as a
solution for a Windows user having shutdown problems.
Microsoft offers a useful “tool”
for this same situation, which is perhaps more convoluted than
anything you find using Ubuntu. Don't believe me or think I am
exaggerating? Try Microsoft's tool titled User Profile Hive Cleanup
Service. With a name like that I scratch my head at the concerns
some people raise when they state Ubuntu and its tools are “cryptic.”
As most Windows users will attest to,
if the OS is working fine they love it. It is only when problems
begin they either have to PAY to have it fixed via a third party
application or try to reconcile it themselves, which rarely happens
with the average user.
This takes me to the fourth and perhaps
most frequent reason that Ubuntu gets slighted by Windows users.
Fourth is that some users prefer spoon feeding
So often I have read a posting or blog
from a Windows user complaining about Linux, and declaring that an
Operating System should “just work.”
The fact is that Ubuntu does work,
right from installation.
Often, when a Windows user says it
should “just work” they are talking specific not relative
For instance one Windows user
complains, “My useful formula in Excel to hide errors on 0
fails to work in Ubuntu.” As if Ubuntu has something to do with
the function of the Open Office Calc application.
Yet if you actually know Excel you
would quickly discern that syntax is the issue and solve it.
The Excel formula to make this check on
The Open Office Calc formula to do the
exact same thing:
Now you may ask, why even bring this
up, this is obviously not an OS issue.
But when most Windows users talk about
how Ubuntu does not “work” they are almost exclusively
talking about applications they use not working the way they expect.
Many of the people who complain about
Ubuntu and associated applications not working have spent inordinate
amounts of time and effort and money to learn the Microsoft way.
They spent time and energy learning
about Microsoft's terminology, features and functionality (as sampled
above) and they are too damn tired to try to learn anything new.
The last and perhaps most important
reality is that people in certain stages (not ages) of life are just
too overwhelmed to learn new techniques.
As a result, they prefer to write
comments, publish blogs and post messages in an attempt to convince
themselves that it is Linux that is making things hard, rather than
their inability to shift paradigms and learn new syntax or
No OS in the world can overcome
complacency and laziness -- no matter how much you tweak the GUI or
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.
Walter V. Koenning is a tech and trends
writer for numerous online news and IT websites, and contributes
occasionally to our Opinions section.
This brief opinion piece should not be construed as factual information, and only contains the opinions and personal experiences of the author at the time of publication.
Microsoft, Microsoft Windows are trademarks or registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation both in the United States and Internationally. All other trademarks or registered trademarks in this opinion piece belong to their respective owners.