So at work I get a new computer and have to install Linux on it. I am quickly reminded why I gave up on Linux in disgust lo these many years ago. I’m installing a distro with a cutesy African name (that English-speakers universally mispronounce, making me cringe every time) that is universally received as the ultimate in desktop-friendliness (as much as that means anything in Linux-land).
Now one of the criticisms leveled at, say, Windows, is that there’s often no way to diagnose a problem, and trouble-shooting simply consists of reinstalling pieces until things sort of work again.
So I install from the very latest ISO on the website, and things seem to work OK. However, there’s some update program yammering for my attention, so I check it, and there’s evidently 280 pieces that need updating. That’s quality control for ya. So I run the update, which automagically chooses the slowest possible mirror to use — 30 kilobytes per second, for crying out loud.
Now that the updates are done, the window manager crashes and burns. Luckily, since Linux is so much better than Windows, I can tell exactly what’s causing it to crash. Well, it can’t seem to find a function ISNGBdiugjnooruwojhdwIgHDUWHGUdh in a shared library. Now I actually happen to know what this means. I also happen to know that I can do exactly squat about it, because the vaunted package manager that is supposed to keep all those picky dependencies straight can’t actually be arsed to do its job.
A quick Google finds that lots of other people have encountered this problem, and that the recommended solution starts like this:
apt-get --reinstall ...
Remind me how much better than Windows this is?
And to top it off, when I do run this recommended command, the computer has conveniently forgotten that it ever had a network card, so my download speed is now, let’s see, nothing times nothing, carry the nothing…
This is why I’d far rather run an operating system whose development includes at least some pretense to a QA process, and which I can use to get something resembling work done in less than a week of setup, rather than Linux, which is “Open Source”, meaning a random pile of poorly-coordinated contributions by people working on little bits of things that they happened to feel interested in during their off hours, and thus resembles nothing less than a terrain feature you’ll often find behind a farmer’s barn.
I weep for the thousands of hours I wasted on Linux in my youth before I discovered OpenBSD.