Why GNU/Linux is not yet able to replace Windows on my computer

Wednesday, 4 October 2006

I’ve been very frustrated recently with getting GNU/Linux running the way I likes it on my laptop, so here are some reasons why I have now installed Windows 2000 for the time being:

  • Unable to get {mplayer,gxine,totem,vlc,helix,realplayer}-plugins to play all streams in Firefox (this problem has haunted me for years, and with every distribution I’ve used).
  • Unable to get the fonts to look perfect on a 96dpi monitor
  • Unable to find a satisfying alternative to several programs, including the Flash plugin (Flash 7 doesn’t cut it anymore), iTunes, Grabit and AutoUnpack (I’m afraid PAN and other free usenet binary newsleecher alternatives are just not as good).
  • Unable to get pmount to automount my external NTFS formatted hard drive with the ntfs-fuse driver, when I plug it in.
  • To be fair, most of these problems are absolutely NOT the fault of GNU/Linux. For example, there is only ONE person currently working on the next flash plugin for Linux, so it will be ready somewhere in the next millenium. And things like activating the bytecode interpreter in Xorg, or providing certain codecs, or fonts, can (potentially) expose a distribution’s organisation to lawsuits because of patent issues or copyright issues. Some programs are not even ported to Linux at all, such as iTunes and Grabit. Running those programs using Wine is either impossible, or disables some/most of the functionality/speed of the program. And then I don’t even mention the lack of support from many hardware manufacturers, although fortunately that situation seems to be changing, *gradually*.

    So all I can say is: All of the linux distros I’ve used have been great systems, safer and more stable than Windows. But, for *my* purposes (non-server, none-corporate use) it cannot yet meet my requirements. But, having said that, I’ll probably end up installing Ubuntu/Arch Linux/Gentoo again in a month, during the next manic episode ;)
    Go figure.