The Linux Desktop Experience

After using computers for more than 40 years, using Linux for more than 21 years, at home using Linux as my daily driver since 2009, and for more than six years publicly sharing personal Linux adventures, I can offer some observations about the so-called Linux desktop experience.

Linux is mostly a good fit for me, but with four decades of computer experience I might have half a clue how to tinker with the devils. Many people do not have that background.

Continually I read online the experiences from people trying to adapt or migrate to Linux. The stories are unsettling. Many people experience one usability issue after another. This is no surprise to me because during my public tenure I have shared many usability stories.

Complaints are common with the Linux desktop. A common recommendation is to try different distros and desktop environments. Unlike Windows, Linux offers many possibilities and choices to find a palatable computer operating system.

People should not need to deal with these kinds of issues. While Windows and Linux are different under the hood, the desktop experience should be similar and smooth. To use a loose car analogy, many people can operate just about any standard car with nominal adjustment yet nobody worries that the directional lights are working backwards. This death by a thousand paper cuts seems to continually plague the so-called Linux desktop experience.

Tepid vendor support further erodes the Linux desktop experience with GPU and wireless networking issues.

When people say that “Linux sucks,” they probably are correct — at least for their n=1 experience.

Posted: Category: Usability Tagged: General

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