Current Problems with Linux

Over the past few articles, we have been extolling the virtues of Linux, and how and why you should use it. This article is slightly different. We are sure that many Windows users who read the previous articles scoffed at various points. Well, in this article, we are going to wear our Windows hat, and try to look at Linux from the point of view of a Windows evangelist.

Why do this article? Well, in the interest of being fair. Yes, it is easy to dismiss Windows users as whiners, and people who can’t be bothered to learn about their machines, but life is not that simple, is it?

A few things before we start. This article may seem unintelligent and pointless at times, and many a seasoned Linux user is going to throw up his hands at the very thought of someone writing such utter balderdash. For all such readers, we’d like to assure them that such thoughts do cross people’s minds. Every incident we have related actually happened to people we know. Ordinary people, smart people in their fields, which happen to be non-computer related fields. So before you start e-mailing us about how puerile this article is, sit back and think for a second. Have you never faced these questions? If that is true, then you are a lucky person.

So let’s see what it is that makes Linux so difficult to use for people who don’t like Linux.

1. Which one is Linux? The single most confusing thing about Linux is this. What is Linux? Yes, we know that it’s a kernel coupled with other utilities, but what in tarnation is a kernel? We can understand it if you tell us that Windows 95 is different from Windows 98, but what do you mean by saying that Fedora Core 3 is similar to Debian testing, but is better than Core 2. And of course, Mandrake 10.1 is better than 10.0, but SuSE is only on 9.2. All this gets very confusing after a while. A friend asked if he could contribute by donating some money to Linux. When we told him that there is no Linux in the sense there is a Microsoft or IBM, he looked blankly at us. “So, who makes Linux?” Indeed. For someone who is used to one company and a few operating systems, all this talk of Distributions is rather confusing. A little marketing could help here. More on marketing later. At least it’s a little better these days with some big names coming up. We have heard of Red Hat, and Novell. At least with these two if we want to donate some money to them, we know their mailing address.

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