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Open-Source / Linux Letdowns For 2018

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  • Open-Source / Linux Letdowns For 2018

    Phoronix: Open-Source / Linux Letdowns For 2018

    While 2018 was a grand year for open-source and Linux as we've been recapping all of the highlights in recent days on Phoronix, it wasn't without some shortcomings or areas that have yet to pan out... As we end 2018, for some interesting New Year's Eve discussions in the forums, here is a look at some of the biggest Linux/open-source letdowns of the year...

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...-Letdowns-2018

  • #2
    Speaking of LTO: it's still not ready for prime time as quite a lot packages fail to be built with it due to GCC bugs, so it's not about distros' unwillingness to enable it: it's about not being able to use it to build everything. And distros don't usually like to enable half measures.

    That's a great list, Michael, but probably the biggest issue with Linux nowadays as it's been for the past 27 years, is that still there's no Linux. We still have dozens of incompatible distros and there's no way to build packages which could run on all of the unmodified (unless we're talking appimage/flatpak/snap but they entail their own issues) and run on them for years. LSB was meant to partially solve this conundrum but it never took off and now distros don't even claim to be be LSB compatible.

    Of course, a number of lunatics on Phoronix will disagree with me vehemently, however there's this guy, Linus Torvalds, you might have heard about him, shares my sentiment. Perhaps, he's also wrong and everything is picture perfect.



    Speaking of a Linux based smartphone: it just won't take off. We don't have any resemblance of a polished Linux for the desktop and to think that we'll have to deal with hundreds of minor and large bugs on your smartphone sounds almost ridiculous. Android and iOS are good enough the third player in the smartphone world currently doesn't sound realistic. Even Microsoft pulled out of the market.

    One last problem I'd like to talk about is that Linux'es lack polish: you install any DE and then you start finding little and large issues, like segfaults. I'm now running XFCE 14 on Fedora 29 and two applets just keep crashing whenever I try to enable them. I start using KDE 5 and it has all sorts of polish issues as well as crashes. Still in 2018, six or so years after Plasma was first released.
    Last edited by birdie; 12-31-2018, 01:08 PM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by birdie View Post
      That's a great list, Michael, but probably the biggest issue with Linux nowadays as it's been for the past 27 years, is that still there's no Linux. We still have dozens of incompatible distros and there's no way to build packages which could run on all of the unmodified (unless we're talking appimage/flatpak/snap but they entail their own issues) and run on them for years. LSB was meant to partially solve this conundrum but it never took off and now distros don't even claim to be be LSB compatible.
      I've been a long time Linux user and that has never really been a problem for me. I think it's a strength to have different approaches to packaging software.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by nils_ View Post

        I've been a long time Linux user and that has never really been a problem for me. I think it's a strength to have different approaches to packaging software.
        I'm glad you don't need any software other than what your distro offers. However people want to game, use professional software (Adobe, Autodesk, Microsoft to name a few), and they want to install and forget about their OS. No one want to reinstall their OS every 12 months. No one wants to battle with Wine/Proton/whatever to run their games. No one wants to use Windows in a VM to run the software they need. The fact that Linux is sufficient for your majesty doesn't mean anything in the grand scheme of things. You might be well served even by MS-DOS.

        You see? It's impossible to talk to Linux fanboys as they turn Linux grave shortcomings into its advantages. This won't get us anywhere and in year 2040 we'll still be debating why Linux hasn't taken off as a desktop platform. "It works for me and I don't understand why people don't like it too" - the myopia is strong with this kind.

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        • #5
          If you look closely at Steam's statistics here ( https://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey?platform=linux ) and here ( https://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey?platform=pc ) ; Linux steam users used English as their preferred language ( 85% ) while Windows Steam users whom have chosen English are only 35%.


          It may not be unreasonable to infer that in English-speaking countries the Linux steam population is actually over 2%, and close to 0% in China.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by birdie View Post
            Speaking of LTO: it's still not ready for prime time as quite a lot packages fail to be built with it due to GCC bugs, so it's not about distros' unwillingness to enable it: it's about not being able to use it to build everything. And distros don't usually like to enable half measures.
            At least there is hope on the horizon on this front in 2019, according to the latest blogpost by the GCC developer in charge they try to get LTO into better shape to build Suse Tumbleweed with it enabled and fix the remaining build failures along the way in time for the GCC 9 release. I'll keep my fingers crossed that this plan will work out!

            Speaking of distros enabling half measures, one item which I've missed on Michael's list is the lack of hardware video acceleration in Chromium on Linux by default. I don't want to be rude, but it is 2018?! If this is about Linux Video APIs, the community should push the hardware vendors more for a solution (or try to get Nvidia to support VA-API). Some distributions this year started shipping a custom Chromium build with the VA-API patchset turned on by default. While it is at least something, this is somewhat problematic for an experimental feature and I'd prefer if the Chromium developers would keep that code up to date and don't shift the burden on the distros.

            I share the rest of your post very much from my own observations during the last year. Linux still needs better testing, polish and optimizations for a great end user experience.

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            • #7
              I'm not sure why the state of the nouveau driver is a let down. You'd have to have high expectations to begin with, and personally, I've given up on Nouveau for a while now. It's been pretty clear for a long time now that Nvidia likes to hold their power management cards close to their vest as a strategic competitive advantage, and sees Nouveau only as a useful tool to bring up a basic desktop while the proprietary drivers are being installed. No more, no less, and they won't ever do more than necessary to enable that.

              At this point, Linux folk who buy Nvidia hardware should know what the deal is: Great performance and compatibility in 3D applications, games, and CUDA compute, horrible integration with the rest of the Linux graphics stack. Hoping that nouveau will fix these problems is at best wishful thinking.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by birdie View Post

                I'm glad you don't need any software other than what your distro offers. However people want to game, use professional software (Adobe, Autodesk, Microsoft to name a few), and they want to install and forget about their OS. No one want to reinstall their OS every 12 months. No one wants to battle with Wine/Proton/whatever to run their games. No one wants to use Windows in a VM to run the software they need. The fact that Linux is sufficient for your majesty doesn't mean anything in the grand scheme of things. You might be well served even by MS-DOS.
                If you want to run Software that only works on Windows, you're better of using Windows, or switch to alternatives where those exist. And of course there is dual-booting and virtual machines which do the job sufficiently well for most people. To expect people working on distributions to make them compatible with third party, closed-source and commercial software is ridiculous and a staggering display of entitlement. Do you really expect enough people will sacrifice their free time to make Adobe more money?

                If all you really want is "Windows, but for free" (it sounds like it), I suggest you try ReactOS, the huge amount of work that has gotten into it and still need to go into it may provide a clue as to why most people developing for linux don't bother trying. There are a lot of more rewarding, interesting and useful things to work on instead, unless you like that sort of thing. The desktop experience for example I believe still requires a lot more work to be on par with OS X / Windows.

                If my distro doesn't offer something there is usually another mechanism to run it, containers being one example. If it works on another distro I can usually make it work, especially if it's open source software.

                Coloring removed by me:
                You see? It's impossible to talk to Linux fanboys as they turn Linux grave shortcomings into its advantages. This won't get us anywhere and in year 2040 we'll still be debating why Linux hasn't taken off as a desktop platform. "It works for me and I don't understand why people don't like it too" - the myopia is strong with this kind.]
                It's impossible for you to talk to what you call linux fanboys mostly because you're angry and hostile. It works (very good) for me is the only reasonable criteria for me to judge an OS by. In the grand scheme of things that all that should matter to me. Windows works great for a lot of people, and there is quite a lot of things it does well. I don't like working with it, so I don't. That's fine too.

                Linux doesn't have to be for everyone. Not everyone has to like it.

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                • #9
                  For me a big letdown is that my favorite DE is still not able do display the creation date of a directory or file in the properties window and in the Created date column so I can sort by this kind of date.
                  Some work has been done in this area but more help was needed and it seems that there are not many developers wanting to invest in this common sense feature.
                  Anyway, congratulations to the developer who tried to fix this thing!
                  Another letdown would be the AMD missing GPU control panel so I control the GPU the same way I can do it on Windows.

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                  • #10
                    Wayland really seems to be a solution looking for a problem.

                    Originally posted by birdie View Post
                    I'm glad you don't need any software other than what your distro offers. However people want to game, use professional software (Adobe, Autodesk, Microsoft to name a few), and they want to install and forget about their OS.
                    Just install windows and your golden.

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