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Ubuntu Sucks Like a Shopvac and Other Linux Rants -

Ubuntu Sucks Like a Shopvac and Other Linux Rants
by Walter V. Koenning, for the Op/ed section.

Readers of this article also enjoyed: Top 5 ways not to be a Linux evangelist! 

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 comparisons.

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 familiarity syndrome

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 article 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 either:
  1. call a computer repair service and remain unaware of anything other than the bill
  2. decide it is “time to buy a new computer” as if the OS dictates the hardware's lifecycle
  3. or try a Linux installation.
This takes me to the third point.

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 Ubuntu forum.

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 function.

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 0 work:
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 functionality.

No OS in the world can overcome complacency and laziness -- no matter how much you tweak the GUI or features.

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.

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