10 Reasons Why Not to Install Linux

2:22 PM

Has Jonquil went off the deep end and started advocating people not use Linux now? The answer is no, not in the least. However I recognize there are some user requirements Linux doesn't cover, and think it's important to share these incompatibilities with those who would install Linux so we can ensure they're getting the best possible experience once they load up their first Linux distribution. Here are ten reasons I have found why not to install Linux:



  1. Power Management - If you're a laptop user, you may find Window's power management options a bit more useful than Linux's offerings. Power management is a work in progress in Linux at the moment. The current functions are sleep, hibernate (if you're lucky and your battery doesn't give out on you first), and dim display. These may or may not work on your laptops. There's also nothing to reduce the amount of power used while on battery (except if you're using Ubuntu, and then there's Jupiter).

  2. Applications - Don't get me wrong, Linux applications are great and they kick the butt of many of their Windows counterparts. However, if your work/school demands certain Windows applications, you may find it easier (and faster) to use Windows on its own as opposed to loading it up in a virtual machine. If you have a lot of hard drive space give dual booting a shot, but otherwise you may need to stick to playing with Linux on Live CD.

  3. Compatibility - This is becoming more and more of a non-issue, but still make sure that there are Linux programs that can open your files that are in proprietary formats.

  4. Games - There are tons of games on Linux for the casual gamer. But for the serious gamer, Linux has little to offer in the way of the most popular new games. You may be able to get some games to run in WINE or via a virtual machine, but the graphics just won't be the same.

  5. Interfaces - The user interfaces in Linux are very different from what you're accustomed to in Windows. If you're someone that doesn't like change, then switching to Linux may not be the greatest idea for you. There's more, a LOT more, that is different about Linux in comparison to Windows and you will basically be re-learning how to use your computer.

  6. Hardware - If you have a brand spanking new computer, give Linux a shot on Live CD and make sure all your hardware will work with it before you try installing it. While kernel level hardware support moves quicker than it used to, it takes time for that support to filter down through the different distributions. If you want to know if hardware support is coming to your favorite Linux distribution, try running the Sabayon Live CD, which is one of the distributions that uses the latest kernel. And if you like it, go ahead and install it. :)

  7. Community - Let's face it, the Linux community is not for everyone. I highly recommend you check out the community of the distribution you want to install to see if it's a good fit for you. If you are prone to asking vague questions and/or not researching your issues prior to posting on a forum about them, Linux just may not be the operating system for you. Since support is done by the community for free, there's a certain kind of give/take relationship going on that needs to be respected. No one can help you if you're too vague about your issue, and no one likes repeating themselves on an issue that's already been well documented.

  8. Documentation - Linux documentation tends to assume you know what you're doing unless it's geared towards novices. Take a look over the documentation for the distribution you want to install and make sure you can understand it. If you plan on doing command line work load up a Live CD and make sure you can understand the man pages for various commands.

  9. Documentation - Sometimes there isn't any. So using Linux does require some amount of ingenuity at times.

  10. Network - Do you have a lot of Windows machines on your network? There's Samba, which allows file sharing to take place between Windows machines and Linux machines, but it doesn't always work as expected. If you aren't prepared to do some major network troubleshooting and there are a lot of Windows machines on your network that you absolutely have to share files with, Linux may not be for you.

It was really difficult to come up with ten reasons why someone should not use Linux. Perhaps it would have been easier if I weren't so biased towards Linux. :D



xjonquilx | Sabayon, Ubuntu, Fedora, Linux, Oh My!


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33 comments

  1. >if your work/school demands certain Windows applications
    Generally speaking, they have no right to do so, unless they provided you with Windows license.

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  2. Having read your interview with DarkDuck, I added your RSS feed to my list in Akregator. You're right next to the site Carla Schroeder writes for. So, I picked up on this earlier in my feeds & thought I'd add my thoughts on a few points. Here goes.

    1. I'd hazard a guess that this is one where Linux is a victim of it's own success to an extent. Consider that Linux will run on anything from the world's top super computers down to things like the Raspberry Pi project. Laptops, with their specific requirements are a pretty small subset of that range of hardware. Having said that, bear in mind that Linux does run successfully on a lot of devices that require frugal power usage. Like Android phones, for example. Also, there's things like the laptop mode package which specifically manages spinning disks up and down when on battery power.

    2. Don't forget that as an alternative to dual booting, there's virtualisation. Ideally, you'd have a Linux host running a Windows guest to be used as & when required.

    3. In my experience office apps have caused slight issues in the past, but this is becoming less and less of an issue as the likes of Libreoffice mature.

    4. Humble Indie Bundles. Also, I was listening to a Tuxradar podcast yesterday (http://www.tuxradar.com/content/podcast-season-3-episode-24) where something called Desura was mentioned. Worth looking into if you're a Linux gamer.

    5. I'd guess that most people who are looking to migrate to Linux are doing so because they want a change from Windows. Also, don't forget that these days, new releases of Windows tend to differ quite widely from the preceding version. Look at Windows 8. Likely to cause the same consternation that KDE4, Gnome 3 and Unity have...

    6. Installing Windows on a new machine is likely to cause any amount of grief until you've tracked down and installed all the drivers required. We Linux users are very spoilt in that we can try a Live CD/DVD/USB to check what works. Usually (In my experience.) it all works out-of-the-box.

    7. That's one perspective. The positive side to the Linux community's support is that generally it is far higher quality than you'd get from a proprietary system's helpdesk where generally, a minimally trained operator will be reading scripted responses to your questions. On a Linux forum, there is a chance you'll get a response from one of the distro's developers if you've asked a carefully thought out and pertinant question.

    8. Yes, there is documentation that's aimed at intermediate/advanced users and docs for beginners. Often, documentation for one distro will be relevant and helpful (To a degree.) for users of another distro. Take the Mepis user manual as an example. I'd wager it'd be very useful for any KDE4 user.

    9. See 7.

    10. Bear in mind that Linux is designed to exist on a network. Windows is a standalone system that has had networking tagged on as an afterthought. That's one reason why it suffers so much with vulnerabilities when connected to the internet. In a mixed environment, Linux will be the system that offers far greater flexibility and functionality as a host that Windows clients can make use of. (On my home network, files on my Linux boxes and the printer attached to our main PC are perfectly useable by Windows clients.)

    Thanks for a thought provoking article.

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  3. I think you'll be interested in seeing what the 10 reasons to install Linux are. You made a lot of points here that I plan on using in that article.

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  4. I think nowadays reasons to install Linux far outweigh not installing linux. Coming from a technical background i might sound biased and completely out of touch with reality but gone are the days when most software were Windows specific - browser, photo editing, music and the like the most oft used apps by any average Joe. Hard core gamers, accounting/medical or any specific software related users are better off in Windows, but for all other practical purposes using Linux will give you the peace of mind and not to mention ease and time saving features.

    Linux never takes off or will never take off only because people are resistant to change and they don't want to go beyond their comfort zone. You can install and configure a complete working Linux system in under 30 mins (mileage could vary depending on what you want or don't want). Try that in windows and for people who complain about lack of knowledge, even installing Windows need knowledge which an average Joe might not have.

    Arch, Slackware, Frugalware, Debian, Fedora and their siblings - i bow to thee for giving a quality experience which Windows can never give.

    My machine doesn't have any windows, only doors, doors of Linux that opens into a different world :D :D

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  5. Thanks for the article. I have dual windows / linux on all my computers. Since I have a tax practice - I must boot into Windows to prepare taxes.

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  6. You seem to lack an understanding about the OPEN source nature of Linux. (abusive statement deleted by admin)

    1. That is due to the proprietary nature of hardware. The "power" saving feature on windows you are talking about is CPU under or de clocking and Linux has that functionality. I tend to get the same amount of battery life on Linux if not more than windows on my Netbook (5-7 hours!). But since drivers do not OPENLY exist for the mobo. I am unable to manipulate the brightness.... If I could then I would easily get more battery life on Linux.

    2. Virtualization usually takes care of this issue and speed at near real time. Dual booting is fine to. And in reality, an OPEN source alternative will exist 8 times out of 10 that does the job just as efficient if not better for many applications.

    3. I generally do not get issues loading MS office documents on Linux. It isn't my fault if the institution has limited themselves to a specific application's propriety format. I can always use Google Docs on Linux that also works. Some documents do in fact not work.. conversion to PDF always solves that issue.

    4. Seeing that Linux has historically been a Server/UNIX OS this wouldn't surprise me. In reality its really common sense or should be. However just to clarify, it is slowly changing as more users convert. The user above mentioned a nice suite of games and also graphics are not limited in Linux take a look at Oilrush. This will change with time as more users use Linux as a desktop OS.

    5. Some desktop environments have been designed for simplicity in mind for users that aren't computer savvy and some others more complicated. Its up to the user if they want varying levels of complexity. Some users who have trouble navigating the UI in Linux have the same level of using Windows for the first time. We are constantly learning new things, switching your Os will cause you to have to learn. If learning is an issue then you might as well argue the virtues of Apple's MAC OS X.

    6. Dude now-a-days Linux has better support for hardware then windows. Also a lot of these issues are due to the closed source nature of many vendors. Is Linux responsible for this if the vendor does not allow the developers access to their API's?

    7. It depends on the community. Different distro's have different communities. It really just depends. There is IRC and its really 24/7 support. You can't really get that on Windows. You should also keep in mind that users are not always angel-sent. That being said alot of this support which tends to be more personal also comes with notion of "free as in free beer" not your typical help desktop support. If you really want that sort of support then you should buy a Linux distribution that provides that sort of support.

    8 (& 9) Many distributions are actually very well documented (even more documented or at least user friendly then Windows and MSDN). It really depends on the distribution. Also man pages tend to serve a different purpose then wiki pages (which are sometimes geared towards novice users). Novice users start somewhere. Also, Books are available to help users learn the basics of the Linux OS past the GUI which is generally self-explaining. You're assuming that these different forms of documentation should all be geared towards novice users?

    10. So Linux is at fault for not being able to support a system (120% of the time) that is not native to itself?

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  7. Reason #11: Regressions. Times when your computer used to work with a particular distro, then fail to work with an upgrade. This happens all of the time with Windows (remember Windows Vista?), but still happen on Linux. Around the kernel update from 2.6.38/Ubuntu 11.04, I could no longer run Ubuntu on my desktop without kernel options set in the boot line, although I had been doing so since 7.10. I had had problems with video and sound in earlier releases, but now the machine would kernel panic prior to udev or any text showing up. Turned out apic and acpi had to be turned off on this 6-7 year old Windows XP Media Center machine, but it would have kept me from using Ubuntu as a new user. Let's not forget graphics acceleration required on newer GNOME 3 and Unity distros.

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  8. 3. Compatibility - As you say, a non issue.
    5. Interfaces - You're basically saying, if you don't want to change, don't.That's fine with me, but it's another non issue.
    6. Hardware - The linux kernel moves fast, exotic and closed hardware is an issue; i would hazard to say, choose your hardware if you can, you'll see you don't have to compromise much to have a nice working system.
    7. Community - You have lot's of them, if you wan't newbie friendly there's ubuntu, mandriva, mint, etc, if you wan't hard core go debian or gentoo, crunchbag etc, if you wan't a no nonsense yet rebel comunity, the arch way is the right way!There are a lot more, including distro agnostic forums.
    8. Documentation - If you don't like reading the manual much, you can allways search the web for "how to's" and use friendly forums like ubuntu's wich forbids users from telling people to RTFM.
    9. Is a duplicate of 8 :)
    10. Network - You present the problem and the solution(samba).I would add, if one have lot's of machines in his/her network one must be techically inclined.

    I concede all remaining points.
    Thanks for the article and forgive the spelling, i'm drinking much good wine this christmas, happy hollidays to all!

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  9. "Power Management – If you’re a laptop user, you may find Window’s power management options a bit more useful than Linux’s offerings. Power management is a work in progress in Linux at the moment. The current functions are sleep, hibernate (if you’re lucky and your battery doesn’t give out on you first), and dim display. There’s nothing to reduce the amount of power used while on battery."

    Theres actually quite a bit you can do. You can change the cpu governor to conservative or powersave, you can kill power to wireless devices and usb ports that are not in use, change disk setting so that the disk does not spin up as much. There are also a few other ticks. On some asus laptops there is a unofficial/staging driver that will modify the power profile for you. Biggest problem is really on some systems that do not properly declare ASPM support with kernels 2.6.36-3.1. Anything before or after should work better on most systems.

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  10. Wow..still minor points compare to the hundreds of reasons NOT to install MS Windows

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  11. At least you do not have to upgrade to a new release every 6 month !!!
    and you do not have to fix your system every update LINUX is a crap in the desktop. I have try to use linux for several years until I notice that i spend more time fixing my computer on linux than in windows. and at this point is not about the OS any more but about the software and in that area Linux is doing poorly

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  12. "Linux has little to offer in the way of the most popular new games"

    This is more a result of game developers paying lesser attention to Linux.

    By the way, I found both your article and Linuxrich's comment thought provoking and have bookmarked your page!

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  13. Re: #8 and #9

    I'm working on it! Really, I am! ;)

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  14. As a mostly linux user, this has to be the first article I've read that is against linux that I can fully support because of the sound reasoning. Kudos!!

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  15. Your list is a way too short, Linux has a lot more issues than you have outlined:

    http://linuxfonts.narod.ru/why.linux.is.not.ready.for.the.desktop.current.html

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  16. Frank, distros may release an updated version every six months but that doesn't mean you have to upgrade. I am still running Mandriva 2010 even though Mandriva 2011 came out. My webserver/mythTV server is still at Mandriva 2009. For all the time I have used Mandriva and that was when it was called Mandrake, I never had an issue with updates. Maybe you should give examples of what exactly are the issues you are having rather than being so vague.

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  17. Critical regressions are quite rare in the Linux kernel, but unfortunately very common Ubuntu/Fedora. Linux is *not* Ubuntu. It's unfortunate that Ubuntu is the only thing most people see when they get up the nerve to "try" Linux. If Ubuntu sucks, then they think Linux sucks, when in reality, Ubuntu just sucks.

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  18. [...] News excerpt from: 10 Reasons Why Not to Install Linux | xjonquilx | Sabayon, Ubuntu … [...]

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  19. All pretty valid reasons but it also begs the question: "How important are they to the user?"

    Once installed, the real judgement of how well Linux fits the user's needs is how he/she uses it.

    I am a teacher and I have introduced Ubuntu / Linux Mint to many students. To date, none of them have uninstalled it from their computers. They have "advanced" to the point where they almost never boot into or use Windows.

    One of two of their parents had at first refused to even consider using Ubuntu but have now come round and never bother to boot into Windows because it's just Internet services that they need.

    Yes, Linux does not fit all computer needs, if you consider all the specialty software / games, hardware and corporate systems that are locked into Windows. But, for the general populace, Linux is not only an alternative but the preferred choice in terms of speed, reliability and safety.

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  20. Professional video editing software is the only thing stopping me from making the full jump to linux :-( Hell, at this point I would settle for something along the lines of windows movie maker or imovie. Sadly, everything out there is just total trash atm.

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  21. I have not had windows running in my house for about 6 months now. I know this is a short peroid of time but I have not missed it and have not had a need. I don't play video games and I find the online community of linux to be FAR superior to anything found for windows.

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  22. ESET NOD32 Antivirus keeps finding HTML/Scrinject.B.Gen Virus every time I go to your website http://xjonquilx.co.cc/ or I change pages on your website

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  23. It's a false positive. There are no viruses on this website.

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  24. who care if linux is ready for the desktop or not people just care if they are going to able to run software that they use every they on there computer software like adobe photoshop, lightroom or quality video editing software or office and not the mediocre imitation like libre office full of bugs(ansd it works on windows)plus many more

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  25. #1 - Power Management, wrong. Install Jupiter - http://www.jupiterapplet.org - Contribute your tweaks back to the project.

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  26. Hmmm, why haven't I heard of this? It looks like a pretty cool project. Now if only some distributions would start including it by default....

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  27. Take a look at Fuduntu (linked in my name) - It's included by default. Canonical is also mulling around adding it, or adding parts of it.

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  28. You might want to take a look at point B1 from Linux Mint's site: http://community.linuxmint.com/tutorial/view/2

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  29. I was going to respond but as Jonquil has already stated that there will be a follow up article, I'll leave this one.

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  30. Have a look at this tutorial... I've used Kdenlive to make some pretty impressive videos... that kick imovie's ath...and I dont even think about Adobe Premier :D

    http://opensource.com/life/11/11/introduction-kdenlive

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  31. I want to always have the latest version of GIMP.

    How to install it on Slackware 13.0 or Fedora 15 or even Ubuntu 10.04?

    I can't without breaking something else. But with the other OS, it is just a matter of downloading and installing.

    Been using the other OS since 8 years with the latest of the softwares and without breaking anything (of course i have the latest anti-virus and even though i have paid for the OS i am happy not changing the base).

    GNU/Linux has come a long way since i was introduced to it 10 years ago.

    But the genuine problem according to me is, there is no perfect base to rely on.

    I cannot use GNU/Linux as a production system without using a VM.

    The truth about the GNU/Linux users is, they are distro hoppers or atleast version hoppers.

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  32. I don't ever want Windows, i want the whole house!!! :)

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