Linux on the Desktop

Inspired by a post by Kev:

Kev, one in a recent list of people I know leaving the Linux desktop.

I love Linux. Not in that “Microsoft ♥ Linux” crap. I really love it. It’s warty, confusing and funky in most of the right ways. Except for desktop applications. For Desktops, it’s probably worse than BeOS. They haven’t developed off the BeOS main line for 10+ years. It’s really for people who like a challenge and want to make every part of their Rube Goldberg device something they personally like. Fuck everyone else.

I say that last bit with love. I used to do it. Only I knew how my desktop worked. This is fine if you don’t live with anyone and your device is not portable. I don’t fit that anymore. I fought it. I fought hard to stay using my strange collection of startup scripts, services and Frankenstein-esque UI. Keyboard shortcuts were the mantra and other than the Holy Firefox Browser, everything should be primarily keyboard driven. Configured via text files and a byzantine labyrinth of pseudo-standard locations for files to be housed.

I mean, Windows is little better in that regard. The registry is a comically complicated system (one being replicated by GNOME developers, ironically). %APPDATA% is it’s own fortress with no less than three locations to potentially house data. However, shit on Windows tends to just work.

Yes, just work. I can install Office, or Firefox, or even a complicated Windows Subsystem without so much as touching the command-line, or configuring scripts, or adding custom sources to my package manager. I don’t need to worry about $LOCALE reporting “C” (?) to my programs, causing all sorts of weirdness. Shit, I can install or remove Python with impunity and no detrimental effects.

I guess I’m trying to say that I, like Kev, don’t have time for this game of customization bingo. I have a kid, a wife, a house, cats and lots of real-world responsibilities to handle. Much as I’d love to continue to tweak the bejeezus out of every last program. I just don’t have that energy anymore.

Running Linux is a full-time job. It’s a great platform and one that has some promising future in the desktop space, even as it shrinks in lieu of SoC systems like mobile phones and tablets. In the server space, it’s unbeatable. One day, I’m sure Windows will be unseated, but until then, I’m going to enjoy using the device, instead of fixing it.