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I quit using Linux because…

Here’s a very simple question. What can you infer from the image shown below?
GNU/Linux Mac OS X Mountain Lion

Once in a while, a prominent or not so prominent member of the Linux community makes a switch – for one reason or the other – to another operating system, usually to Mac OS X. The latest is Denis Koryavov, the former GUI Development lead for ROSA Laboratory, a Linux software solutions provider based in Russia and the publisher of ROSA Linux.

About two months ago, he quit to join another outfit that provides software solutions for the Windows platform, where his new work computer is a “MacBook Pro 15 (retina) with MacOS X 10.8 on the board.”

In a blog post, he wrote that:

To be honest, I’m happy with this. Everything just works. Unfortunately and I can say this freely now: if we will speak about usability (and not ideology) GNU/Linux distros are still not rivals for the MacOS X and Microsoft Windows on desktops and laptops.

More than 20 years of development and any free distro can’t be the rival of the proprietary operating systems? Unfortunately not. Even Ubuntu and ROSA. Why?

So not even Ubuntu and ROSA Desktop can rival the proprietary operating systems. Here’s a question for Denis: If ROSA cannot rival Mac OS X and Windows, what did you, as the GUI design lead for almost three years, do to bring ROSA Desktop to the level where it also just works?

It’s easy to jump from one fish bowl to another and badmouth your former tank, but considering that Denis was in a decision-making position at ROSA Labs, why was ROSA Desktop not able to rival those proprietary operating systems while he was in charge? By Linux desktop standards, ROSA Desktop is a good distribution, but when it comes to features that impact its ability to just work, it falls shy of expectations.

Interestingly, some of those features, which ROSA Desktop inherited from Mandriva, have either been removed or disabled by default. All while Denis was part of the decision-making process. He did promise to tell us, in future blog posts, why Linux desktops are not as good as Mac OS X and Windows, so stay tuned.

By the way, the lone image in this article is the same one that Denis used in his blog post.

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32 Comments

  1. moxin says:

    Hello a web designer and network person here.
    Yeah! i feel sorry for Linux community. i have just switched to Mac OS X as well and loving it.
    The thing i have come to know about Linux is there are still so many doubts about a stable working system.
    Novice user don’t get anything about permissions in Linux and messes thing up when trying to set.
    When they are introduced to Ubuntu after time it takes up too much memory and some don’t like the interface. I thing Linux community has to sit together, keep their differences to themselves and really do something together to make Linux usable again.

    • moxin says:

      sorry forgot to mention, two Linux flavors i still use are “Crunchbang Linux” and “Elementary OS”.
      These two has the potential to be the future of Linux.

  2. Hello,

    I have a simple answer to the your question: just look at latest version of ROSA Desktop Fresh 2012 :)

    Speaking of seriously, I do not meant, that GNU/Linux are not rivals for MacOS X and MS Windows at all, but in general – yes. Looking ahead, I can tell that the most serious problem for GNU/Linux systems is ideology of building these distros.

    I have no time to write a detailed answer to the your question, so I will be brief: as a result of this ideology, we can see many and many “constructors”, but we do not have finished solutions yet. As a result of developers attempts to meet wishes of any user, we have an army of amateur freebies, and practically have no “normal” users. That is all we have. If you want proofs just look at percent GNU/Linux on desktops and please answer to this question: do you know any company which has a success with profit earning from their desktop distros? I can open a little secret: for 10 years of its existence Mandriva never was in profit.

    Mandriva 2011/ROSA was the first attempt to create a completely new solution, with completely other ideology – to have a complex, well polished and finished distro, but…. Unfortunately many decisions were made not by me.

    • finid says:

      Yes, I have ROSA Desktop Fresh 2012 running on real hardware. Specifically, on an All-in-One PC. And I have ROSA Desktop R1 running as a guest OS on the computer I’m writing this from. Both still lack something as simple as Suspend and Hibernate options in the shutdown menu. I’m sure that’s not an issue on a MacBook Pro. And I’m not even going to talk about the security settings.

      Until very recently, users had to manually enable remote repos on a new installation of ROSA Desktop, something it inherited from Mandriva. It was a default setting that did not make sense to me, and I was one of the voices rooting for it to be changed. I’m happy to report that it has.

      You see, these are some of the things that make a system to just work. I’ve raised some of them here.

      And I do agree with you; most distro developers are letting their ideological position get in the way. It gets to be so annoying, especially when those positions don’t make sense. That’s why I criticize these distributions in my reviews. And I do it just so things can change for the better.

      I’m not going to jump ship and start bad-mouthing Linux from the other side. If I ever jump into another fish bowl, there’s nothing that I’ll be saying over there that I have not been saying now.

      That was the issue I had with your article.

      Btw, I still consider ROSA Desktop one of the better desktop distributions available, even though there are many default settings and applications it needs to make it just work.

  3. R says:

    A developer is like a mechanic; it you want to know how a Formula One car drives, ask the driver, not the mechanic.

  4. nonya says:

    I use Linux here on a daily basis. I do much more with it than just read email, surf the net, and print documents. I create and edit documents, create and update a web site, scan, store, view, print, and edit my pictures, rip, store and edit my music collection. I backup my two Kindles, convert, organize, and store my collection of non-DRMed ebooks. As a license Amateur Radio operater I log contacts, control my radios, and operate digital modes via my computer. All that and more in Linux. I don’t have to use APT to install software. Linux “just works” for me in ways Windows never could.

    • Klaatu says:

      Same here. I use Linux for multimedia production (video, audio, graphics, etc) and programming, and it is the best “just works” system I’ve ever had in my life. And I came from the OS to which what-s-his-name switched.

  5. notzed says:

    Well the image just told me about unlimited website traffic – 30 day trial for $4.95!

    But I digress …

    I think the main reason gnu/linux hasn’t changed is because it “just works” right now and has for about a decade. I shudder every time i’m forced to do anything in microsoft’s platform, it’s clunky, slow, unattractive, and lacking lots of basic facilities (apple stuff is a complete non-issue to me, i haven’t touched an apple machine in nearly 20 years. i’ve seen others use ipads).

    The freedom of the software is just the icing on the cake for me.

    Infact it’s this me-too copy-the-latest-trends attitude, apparently mostly from so-called ‘designers’ that is wrecking it more than anything else is.

  6. Derek says:

    We love what makes Linux Linux, but for me, i would prefer there were somewhat fewer distros the resulting greater resources in the distros remaining. I’m not talking about a 90% reduction, maybe just a 10% reduction in distros and projects would better allocate resources. OpenOffice and LibreOffice? WTH for? And while i’m at it, for god’s sake – get a single method to install software. All this .deb/.tar/.gz stuff is nothing but a pain for USERS – you know, people who fire up a PC to do something – not in the OS – but with applications that run in the OS. We just want to use, eg, Firefox. Most PC users don’t want to use Windows, they want to use Windows to get to Firefox. Users don’t spend weeks configuring their OS, they just use it. :(

    I so want Linux on my main PC, but it’s relegated to the experimentation box

    • finid says:

      And I agree with you. Actually, a 90% reduction in the number of distros will not be such a bad thing. Most distros lack the manpower to get stuff done. There are applications that are not being maintained because the original dev moved on to something else.

      Yet almost weekly, at least a new distro is born that brings nothing new to the table.

  7. joncr says:

    Koryavov certainly does not deserve to be excoriated for changing operating systems when he changed jobs. That’s indicative of a cult, not a rational community of people.

    It’s telling that this piece contains no analysis of the potential reasons behind Koryavov’s move. Instead, it engages in a personal attack — character assassination — as if he is a member of some oddball religous sect who has gone over to Satan.

    You shine no illumination on Koryavov, but you certainly illuminate what you are really all about.

    (I’ve used Linux and OS X daily on my desktop for about 15 years. The better Linux distributions — the ones that cater to the needs of real people and don’t require a religious conversion before acceptance into their “community” — are on par with OS X in terms of day-to-day usability. OS X still is better in terms of somne fundamental features: Spotlight, Automator, Folder Actions, transparent handling of hybrid video on laptops, etc.)

    • finid says:

      Well, I think you missed the gist of the article.

      I don’t care why he changed jobs or why his work PC is now a MacBook Pro. That’s his prerogative.

      My point is this: For almost 3 years, he was a PAID employee of a firm where he had the tools and resources to make his distribution to just work. But that did not happen.

      In general, ROSA Desktop is a good distribution, but the devil, as they say, is in the details. He could have done something about those little details that make a big difference, features that make a distribution to just work, but that did not happen.

      But that’s not just a problem with ROSA Desktop, it’s an issue I see with almost every desktop distribution. All the tools and applications are in the repositories, but for one reason or the other, developers choose to let users go through the task of installing applications that should have been installed by default, and enabling system settings that should be on out of the box.

  8. CFWhitman says:

    “If we will speak about usability (and not ideology) MacOS X and Microsoft Windows are still not rivals for GNU/Linux distros on desktops and laptops.”

    Look. I can say it too, and it’s just as true for me when I say it as it is for him when he says it.

    When I use Windows on a desktop it annoys me all the time. I’m glad that the necessity for me to use it these days is so limited. My main desktop at work and every system I use at home are Linux based. My Windows installations are usually on virtual machines which I have to use regularly at work for certain software, and which I rarely use at home. The last time I fired up Windows at home it was Windows 8 Release Preview. The full Windows 8 has been released since then, and I have a license for it to replace that installation (I grabbed one while it was still 70 dollars in case I had a use for it later), but I haven’t bothered to install it yet.

  9. How much did Microsoft pay you to write this article?

  10. Balaji Devaraju says:

    I think the problem is in the visualization. You deceive people with analogies like this one. Whilst Linux is an ocean, why simply depict as a pot? That was cheesy, I know, but couldn’t help it!

    Now to my comment, from a researcher’s perspective I would like to say that the freedom and the power that I enjoy with Linux in terms of fine-tuning my system for my computational needs is simply non-existent in Windows. Desktop usability cannot be cited as a reason anymore. I think there are a lot more good-looking distros — Elementary, Linux Mint, Fuduntu (Cloverleaf Linux), Trisquel, Crunchbang — than what can be had from Windows or Mac. Well, at the end of the day should we even care to explain these people about the beauty of Linux and its desktop variants?

  11. pgdwn says:

    “If ROSA cannot rival Mac OS X and Windows, what did you, as the GUI design lead for almost three years”

    I totally agree.

    When it was Mandrake, it was very good. I also think, you don’t get anywhere if you start with KDE, because it is a distribution (not a DE), just like emacs.

    Currently I am loving elementary OS. This distribution is one of the few distributions that don’t wait for 6 months to download everything from upstream, put it in an ISO and call is a release.

  12. Shawn H Corey says:

    Yes, everything just works…provided everything means only what the creators of the OS envision. When you try to do something new, you’re SOL. You get no support from the vendors. At least in the Linux community, they are people who are willing to help no matter how strange they think you are.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I don’t quit it, ’cause I’m a systems administrator and I can set it the way I want it, I can fix it, whenever problems arise, but I’d never recomment it to any of my non-tech savvy friends. No fricking way.

    You can read why Linux is unusable on the desktop here: http://linuxfonts.narod.ru/why.linux.is.not.ready.for.the.desktop.current.html

    • TGM says:

      I would say that Linux is easily ready for the basic-user desktop. We’re talking the people that surf the web, scan a document maybe, print a document maybe. Maybe even gaming in the future with Steam.

      It’s when you leave the norm you start to have trouble.

      • Anonymous says:

        I have to agree with you here.

        Within very narrow limits you can use Linux, but step out of them and you are in for a lot of trouble.

    • finid says:

      Mr. Anonymous, I think I know your true ID, but I’m not going to spill on you. It’s not necessary and that’s not the way I roll.

      To the article you referenced, here’s a quote from the 3rd paragraph (emphasis mine):

      I want to make one thing crystal clear – Windows, in some regards, is even worse than Linux and it’s definitely not ready for the desktop either. Off the top of my head I want to name the following quite devastating issues with Windows: Windows rot, no enforced file system and registry hierarchy (I have yet to find a single serious application which can uninstall itself cleanly and fully), no true safe mode, no clean state, the user as a system administrator (thus viruses/malware – most users don’t and won’t understand UAC warnings), no good packaging mechanism (MSI is a fragile abomination), no system wide update mechanism (which includes third party software), Windows is very difficult to debug, in too many cases when Windows stops booting no normal user will be able to solve this problem, Windows is hardware dependent (especially when running from UEFI), in most cases you cannot safely upgrade your system (there will be thousands of leftovers), etc.

      Holy Tux! You mean that after almost 30 years of Windows, with all the resources poured into its development, Windows is still not ready for the desktop? Very nice!

      • Anonymous says:

        Yet Windows is

        1) fricking stable – you install drivers and they ™ JUST WORK. Linux doesn’t even have decent GPU drivers. Yeah, such a basic thing is unusable in Linux.
        2) everything works out of the box.
        3) millions of applications since Windows 95.

        No tell me how I am supposed to run Linux where everything breaks all the time ’cause no one give a sh*t about stability, and how I am supposed to run 10 years old software.

        F*ck Linux.

        • finid says:

          Windows is “fricking stable.” Really?

          Have you been to a local computer to see the line of non-tech people lugging their Windows computer in to be fixed for one insane reason or the other? Reasons that have nothing to do with the hardware, but all due to the fact that the OS is messed up.

          • Anonymous says:

            I can f*ck up Linux up as easily as you can f*ck Windows up.

            Install every possible software title in Linux and see it crawl to a halt.

            The fact that Windows is targeted by people who write lousy code doesn’t say it’s Windows’ fault. Windows’ architecture is not exactly foolproof – but that’s the cost of 20+ years of binary compatibility. That’s why the article says that Windows can be even worse than Linux. But if you use Windows carefully, never install any software you don’t really need – it can work for years without a single glitch.

            I have dozens of people around me who are still using Windows XP SP3 6-7-8-9-10 years after it was installed. Now tell me more how I can use RHEL4 or CentOS4 on the desktop – can you even install them on modern hardware?

            Good buy, open source fanboy. I’m out of this discussion.

          • finid says:

            “The fact that Windows is targeted by people who write lousy code doesn’t say it’s Windows’ fault.”

            Isn’t that stating it backwards? Like “Windows is targeted by people because Microsoft wrote lousy code.”

            “Now tell me more how I can use RHEL4 or CentOS4 on the desktop…”

            Yeah, like those are supposed to be desktop distributionss.

          • Anonymous says:

            Try to install any other 10 years old distro :-)

            Try to use modern software in it, without updating half of the system or using other tricks :-)

            No luck? ;-) Yeah, I know.

          • finid says:

            Why would you not update a new installation of a distro, whether it’s 1 or 10 years old? Why?

            By the way, I have installation CDs of Mac OS 8 and 8.1. (Yes, I used to be a Mac Addict.) Do you think YOU can install them on a MacBook Pro?

            Do you think YOU can run any thing from the App Store on them?

            If you can, I have a Dacha on the outskirts of Moscow that you can have for a song.

  14. Christoper Cox says:

    If freedom matters. If flexibility matters. If IP protection matters. Then Linux matters.

    Proprietary, closed, expensive systems like Apple products only serve those that choose to follow and not lead. As long as our creative nature exists, Apple doesn’t stand a chance.

    If it’s all about the money, the resale value, the temporal safety, the “hip-ness”… then by all means… buy Apple. But one rotten apple eventually spoils the whole barrel… you have been warned.

    • Anonymous says:

      Workflow matters, dude.

      Not your ideals, ideas or thoughts.

      With Linux you cannot have any real workflow – you have to deal with bugs, regressions, instabilities, poorly written software, glitches, etc. etc. etc.

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