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The Answer Is No

The answer is no, is definitely not the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything, as we all know that answer is 42. The answer no is for the following:

Is this the year of the Linux desktop?

This was the title of a post recently on someone’s blog that’s been picked up many times by different Linux news outlets. I woke up 3 days in a row with that stupid post in my reader. I’m tired of it 10 years ago, and I am still tired of it today. Here is why I feel that answer is no, and of course you are more than welcome to disagree.

I have a couple of newer, fairly powerful desktop/laptop machines. I typically run Kubuntu 12.10 on both of these machines, but I have tried various other distributions as well. I have tried Fedora, Ubuntu, Debian, OpenSUSE, Mint, and a handful of others. The one thing they all have in common with Windows Vista? They are slow. Intel i7 or i5, 3rd generation, with no less than 8GB of RAM, and one has a SSD, and they are still slow. Slow compared to Windows 8. Windows 8 might be the donkey’s ass when it comes to a desktop operating system, but I’ll be damned, it is faster than any Linux desktop distribution out there today. It is even faster than one of the distributions running XFCE or LXDE.

I don’t get this the least bit, what happened to the good ol’ days where Linux was the fastest thing to hit the desktop? Have we decided to scrub performance for silly cartoonist styling and bling? Is it the many desktop search daemons? Does it have to do with the poor battery performance? What is it? Why does Windows 8 boot up faster for me? Why does Windows 8 run better for me? None of the pieces of my systems use binary blobs, they are all Intel rigs. Speaking of poor battery performance, I love getting 2.5 hours with Linux (Ubuntu, Kubuntu, and Fedora tested here) where Windows 8 gets over 4 hours. What the hell is abusing that other 1.5 hours my battery can hold? Powertop puts blame on eth0, WiFi, and other things you need running, but damn, 1.5 hours!

On a more positive note, but still not causing a switch in answer to that oh so famous, yet supremely stupid question, applications for Linux are starting to build. With Microsoft announcing their stupid rules for Office 2013 (no, it isn’t coming to Linux, so quit drooling) where you can only install Office on 1 machine and 1 machine only, LibreOffice is looking like a better option these days. Now there is Steam, so those of you who were itching to play games on Linux, have at it! I have Spotify running natively and it is quite nice. And, as a developer, nothing comes close to beating Linux on the desktop. As a developer, I don’t mean one of those that drinks Starbucks all day, waxes their mustache, wears jeans 10 sizes to small, and code in Ruby. I mean one that writes code for compiling, or writing scripts and applications for servers and cloud crap in Python, or just saying the hell with it and copying and pasting in PHP.

That is my rant for the day, and the end to some sarcasm. So quit trying to get visitors with stupid posts that have the same answer as they did 20 years ago and have no chance of changing anytime soon.

PS: NO, this does not apply to OMG Ubuntu! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • Alexander Patrakov

    As for the powersaving problems – in my case (SONY VAIO VPCZ23A4R) they were indeed caused mostly by the Intel wireless network adapter not using the power-saving options by default. Solved by adding this line to /etc/modprobe.d/iwlwifi.conf

    options iwlwifi power_save=1 power_level=3

    Higher power-saving levels (4 and 5) unfortunately lead to packet corruption, so don’t enable them.

    And here is a line for the video driver:

    options i915 i915_enable_rc6=7

    After that, I have 5.5 hours of battery life out of 7 promised, with medium screen brightness and working wi-fi.

    • LaughingBear1971

      I cannot stand Windoze Ate my computer. Just bought brand new Toshiba i3 with 16GB RAM (gunna upgrade to i5 quad mobile next Fall ๐Ÿ˜‰ and it came with Win 8. It barely ran. The touchpad was always working after a clean re-install, but only worked for about a day, forcing me to use an external mouse. This is in the first of week of purchase!

      I installed Kubuntu on about half the HDD and loved the look, but the wireless would not function; had to lug in to get internet. Eventually, W8 got so frustrating with the accidental opening of files and having to switch from the goofy tablet interface to the desktop and the mouse issues – I decided to just wipe it out and take a gamble on Kubuntu, vowing to solve the wireless problem by learning the command line., which is knowledge I want anyway, so what better way than just to dive straight in, right?

      So I did the wipe out install and ended up not having to deal with the wireless problem because with W8 gone, it suddenly worked! It doesn’t work as well at my school’s public unsecured network, though; it drops out and I have to restart every 15-30 minutes. Still trying to find a fix for that.

      My point is, I’m glad W8 works for you, but my Toy-shiba is lightening faster than it was with W8, and I am so in love with the exploration of the whole thing. ๐Ÿ™‚


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