Linux (Still) Sucks Video

Linux Fest Northwest 2010 wrapped up less than 24 hours ago, and it was (as usual) a great show.  The full Jupiter Broadcasting crew was there and had an absolute blast.

On the first day of the show I gave an updated version of last year’s “Why Linux Sucks.  (And What We Can Do To Fix It)” session that I know many of you wanted to see (the room got pretty crowded, and I know many couldn’t make it inside).  So here it is, in all its glory…

Why Linux (Still) Sucks.  (And What We Can Do To Fix It).

And here are the slides from the presentation (in Open Office format, of course!).

For those interested, we also talked about Linux Fest NW in the latest episode of the Linux Action Show.

Ogg and h.264 versions of the video can be downloaded from the Jupiter Broadcasting page as well.

Share Button
  • Errko

    @Dan Douglas

    It’s nice that you find use for the scripting in GIMP, but it’s an image editor, not a programming environment, and as such it really sucks deep. Half of the functionality isn’t there, and what is there is mostly crap. Like working with selections, which simply doesn’t work. For an artist, GIMP is clearly an inferior alternative to just about anything there is unless you’re hell-bent on working around its quirks. It’s a “me too!” application that doesn’t really do what it’s supposed to do. It kinda pretends.

    Most Linux software is like that. Usable in many ways, even useful in some ways, but not quite there when it comes to what it’s actually supposed to accomplish. If you can build your workflow with the stuff, more power for you, but many people can’t because the software doesn’t work right.

    It’s like taking a cheap knock-off swiss army knife, and finding that the blades are dull, the corkscrew splits corks and the scissors don’t cut anything, but at leas the phillips screwdriver head fits the intended purpose, so it’s useful as a screwdriver! Great! That’s all you’ll ever need anyhow!

  • .net jerkface

    “I really have to call bullshit on many who claim it would be impossible to do their work on any of the major platforms. That only happens when you really need to use a specific application that isn’t ported to your system – which for me is always some stupid arbitrary reason that I can usually find a way around.”

    Not being able to run a specific application is a stupid arbitrary reason? What are you going to suggest here, that someone run Create Suite or Autocad in a VM? That’s a waste of resources, especially when laptops are popular. Wine is not a viable answer when for so many applications it provides incomplete support.

    “If you’re comfortable with Windows tools and can’t justify switching, that’s fine and you should continue using it especially if your primary purpose is .net development targeted to windows. I’d be more than happy to help if you’re having trouble doing something on Linux.”

    And that attitude is what drives people away from Linux. I was providing suggestions on how the package management system can be fixed and you’re condescendingly offering me help? Do you think the 1970’s era shared library system makes sense in a modern consumer OS? Do you realize that the shared library system was designed to save resources in an era when gigabyte hard drives didn’t exist? How dare I question design decisions made over 20 years ago when the computing environment was completely different. It must be that I need help from a Linux guru.

    I have no problem with writing software for Linux nor would any developer worth a damn. The problem with Linux is that the porting and support costs for proprietary software are far too high relative to marketshare. This is mainly due to incompatible distros, incompatibilities between versions and distribution systems designed around open source. This leads to poor application support which keeps users on other platforms. I personally don’t care if Linux stays at 1% forever but this is a discussion on how Linux can be fixed.

    These are your people Lunduke. Have fun with them.

    Oh and give Elysian Immortal a try if you like IPAs.

  • Dan Douglas


    I’ve gotta agree with you there. I find selections on Gimp to be one of the things I like but that might just be because I’m used to them. Gimp lacks all the layer effects and properties too, I tend to end up using a lot of layer masks to and scripting to compensate. You can still do a lot of the same things as photoshop, but it does involve more work. Linux port of Photoshop would rock. jerkface

    “Not being able to run a specific application is a stupid arbitrary reason? ”

    Absolutely. No sane person would switch from an OS they like and suits their needs most of the time because of a few corner cases.

    As for the rest of your post, it hardly deserves response… and ROFL at the irony of your “condescending” remark. None of those comments were directed at you anyway. I seriously cracked up when you started talking about legacy and shared libs in Linux versus the “modern consumer OS” that is Windows. Proper package management alleviates the DLL hell concerns. Your assertion that the primary motivation behind shared libs is disk space is ludicrous. PIC on Linux actually works, and there are significant advantages in terms of memory usage and load time especially with –as-needed or even prelinking. Perhaps someday we can go back to having some real hardware-based architecture innovation so our computing environment is NOT stuck where it was 20 years ago thanks to Microsoft. Take your obvious generic fanboy trolling elsewhere.

  • stunt

    @Dan Douglas:
    What the hell are you talking about? Millions of people have to use OS they would rather not use because those “few corner cases” is usually the shit they need to get their job done / food on the table. That’s the reality. Deal with it!

    As a Linux-User I can understand (and agree with) .net jerkfaces remarks completely. These are issues. They need to be fixed. He doesn’t look by a fanboy troll at all. You, on the other hand, are just repeating the same old claims without backing anything up.

  • WinUsr

    @Dan Douglas : “Absolutely. No sane person would switch from an OS they like and suits their needs most of the time because of a few corner cases.”

    You have to be quite an ignorant troll to make this comment. Outlook + Exchange, Outlook Web Access (Didn’t have a rich interface in non-IE browsers until fairly recently, and only Firefox). Office + Sharepoint. Dreamweave, Photoshop, Sony Vegas. Games like World of Warcraft, EverQuest II, etc.

    People use Windows because of those “corner cases” because there is no real reason to use Linux. Almost every productivity software package for Linux also runs on Windows. There is absolutely no reason to run it. You have to be a troll to think otherwise.

    Microsoft doesn’t have us stuck where we were 20 years ago. from 92 to 2001(1 decade) we went from Windows 3.0/3.1 to Windows XP. Where has Linux gone? It’s still a shitty desktop operating system with crappy application dependencies, not decent user interface guidelines, and an installer that installs basically dozens upon dozens of overlapping applications by default.

    It took Apple to make UNIX friendly on the desktop, and Linux still can’t seem to learn from a pretty fucking obvious example staring them in the face. If they keep on with this status quo, I think Solaris can be poised to overtake them. There is less in-fighting in the OpenSolaris community, and they seem more interested in advancing the platform than duplicating work and confusing new users with a gazillion (terrible) choices.

    And do you really think a platform based on userland tools developed in the early 70 can really look at a Windows machine and claim it has kept us back two decades? Linux doesn’t even have stable API/ABIs yet. It breaks shit all the time. Even Sun Microsystems solved this issue in Solaris YEARS ago. The Linux community seems rather uninterested in things that actually matter to the wider spectrum of consumers.

    Choice is only good when there is benefit. Linux is ass on the desktop. That is why people aren’t choosing it. They rather pay 2k for an Apple Computer to get a decent UNIX box, than run Linux on an older machine which can give them equivalent performance. It’s terrible, and people are willing to pay for commercial OSes (and inflated hardware prices in the case of Apple) to avoid it.

    You need to stop trolling.

  • .net jerkface


    ” I seriously cracked up when you started talking about legacy and shared libs in Linux versus the “modern consumer OS” that is Windows. Proper package management alleviates the DLL hell concerns. ”

    I didn’t mention Windows. We can compare the system to OS X if you would like, which actually has a cleaner implementation. When Apple engineers built OS X they wisely ditched the shared library system. It doesn’t make sense in a modern consumer OS. It creates unneeded interdependencies between applications.

    “Your assertion that the primary motivation behind shared libs is disk space is ludicrous. ”
    Disk space and memory actually. However when the typical laptop comes with 2 gb of RAM and a 250 gb hard drive the savings are negligible.

    You seem to think that there is nothing wrong with the current system. Try this link:

  • Robert

    From an enterprise IT engineer point of view, this is presentation is really pathetic.
    The content is really good and objective, the pathetic bit is that it is like if Mr. Lunduke’s is trying to convince people to change stuff by making them feel cool.

    Basically it is like if he is addressing an audience of 12 years old boys trying to convince them to enroll in some project because it is cool.

    Maybe one day there will be an unified API for audio and one for video, but in the meantime I will keep using linux on a server and Windows/OSX on my desktop machines.

    A lot of wasted resources. What a pity. :/

  • Børge A. Roum

    There is at least one website listing commercial apps and games for Linux:

    It was mentioned by someone in the comments to your “Commercial Linux Software” page.

  • goom


    I don’t have read the odp presentation yet, but i have a question about the licence of the document. I would like to translate it into French and share it, can i ? Thanks, i go back to my reading of the presentation !

  • Bryan

    goom: Absolutely. Feel free to translate it and give it to whomever you like. Consider it Creative Commons.

  • Pingback: » Ubuntu 10.04 - Perfect()

  • Vipul

    What about Donation!!
    who the money reaches the contributors to open source project.

    if i fix few bugs (contributed to )a big open source project.

    will i get any share out off donations flowing in to that project .

    i think if the money flow to everyone (all the contributors)then it will encourage them a lot

  • mario

    The presentation is a lot about WHAT, but lacks on the WHY.

    Audio: This is a non-issue in 2010. Don’t talk it up just for the silly meme. The initial bugs of Pulseaudio have been hammered out. And it is a good _standardized_ software API for Unix audio. WHY: Its only purpose is to overcome the incompatibilization that the ALSA ABI fork of OSS caused.
    Good notion on just using gstreamer, though!

    Packaging: Again it should be analyzed why there is no standard in package formats. First off all, with package managers and a repository for every major distribution, you do not download apps like in Windows.
    Second, there is of course the snooty-nosedness of distributions. Everyone sticks to their NIH format, just so.

    Third, it’s not just the packaging format, stupid! Also the rpm/deb meta data are different between distributions. Package names are weird in Debian and in SuSE, package dependencies are therefore different. That’s why exchange and a standard is not possible. (The rpm/deb file format itself would not be a problem.)
    Package names are not going to standardize itself. If it ever happend, it would be a simple matter to patch dpkg or apt to read .rpm files as well as .deb. – Chop chop and the format wars are gone.

    In the meantime, I’d recommend “EPM” or similar tools. Generic package managers generate .rpm and .deb and .tgz and installers (and even Win32 .exe installers for EPM) from one source. If you package software, don’t bother with rpm or dpkg directly. Use a generic package manager. Just use epm if you want to be extra lazy.

  • Amir

    Hi, You may wanna share this link:

    It’s related to some of the things you said in the video!

  • trojanflea

    Hey Bryan! Have you guys recorded the talk on options for developing linux applications? Will you post that soon?

  • Darren Stewart

    Well, another year on.

    Mostly correct. The landscape is not that hard to see. Most was covered well in the video.

    Video and Sound APIs continue to be a rolling disaster. If anyone is actually serious about it being a ‘platform’, then to actually be a platform, you have to build on something, not shift the underpinnings round every damn 6 months.

    Therefore, someone somewhere has to create and lockdown, at least with a stateful set of planned changes, Video APIs and drivers, Sounds APIs and drivers, and a game API (OpenGL and something akin to Direct X), and application APIs – and dare I say this, it has to be done in a way that captures or brings everyone onboard.

    Package management. Simple, every distro should be on Apt. By all means support other package management, but default should be Apt (or a decent current and best version of it)

    Applications. Its almost insane to bother with applications unless the API/Sound/Video/Other API thing is fixed. Forget about it. No commercial or other company can continue to have to fix their shit all the damn time cos others break all the underpinnings again and again and again, and cover 500 distro’s all running their own flavours of every damn thing. That IS not a platform, that is a mess. Therefore unless the first thing actually gets fixed, you will never ever get this. Ever. Its never going to happen.

    You think Valve or Adobe is going to come in and face this garbage? Get real. You have to be a decent platform to bring people in. If you don’t, You kill yourself at every stage anyone looks at doing anything. Imagine Valve having to try and make their products work across 500 different broken, borked and messed up sound APIs. Imagine Adobe trying to work their way through the driver and API graphics mess if they did bring Photoshop. The end user complaints alone for program breakage would sink them.

    Fix the effing LSB. Its a very short agreement to not agree on very much. RPM? Give me a break. People talk up the LSB, but its so far short of what you need its not even funny.

    And I’ve just watched Ubuntu meddle and fiddle and screw around on their LTS version. Rushed? Not half.

    Despite making good progress, despite some good distro’s, people really need to get real on where things stand. Things are only superficially better today than 5 years ago. Underneath, many core problems are no better at all.

  • Joe Ryan

    I watched the video and could not help but recall my issues just two weeks ago with my seemingly conquered Linux issues. I still love Linux though. Just in case anyone wants to hear my rant here it is.

    My main frustration are game breaking regressions, as you mentioned in your talk like audio etc.

  • easybutton
  • danni

    Two weeks later, where is the official Steam announcement? That’s right, nowhere because Phoroenix made it up. And as always, those wanting to believe, did so.

  • Pingback: » Google Ads vs Apple Ads (and why I don’t care)()

  • danni

    Dude, where’s my Steam?

  • dan l

    I’m not making this up. I was about halfway through it and my audio blew up. I got a notification about pulseaudioalsophenomserver doing something or other.

  • nate

    If anyone is still interested in Linux (no one should at this time and age), perhaps would want to know that Dell is dropping Linux, again.

  • the_madman

    Canonical has released the Software Centre, and plan on creating a new, “repository” for user-facing software to keep up-to-date: a common example is making the latest versions of Firefox and OpenOffice available in a, “stable” set-up as soon as they are available.

    I think this should be extended to include new commercial applications that can be bought from the Software Centre directly.

    Finally, I believe Canonical could themselves spread word of, “new entries” to the Software Centre on a blog or RSS feed, for example. This way, instead of requiring the download of a .deb from the website or other such interaction, they could include an apt: URL that points to the software directly in the Software Centre. This would provide wide coverage, easy discovery, a single place to find all software mentioned in the New Entries page (the Software Centre) and the ease-of-mind that the software is coming from a trusted and secure repository in the Software Centre.

  • yman

    Perhaps what you are looking for is something like NixOS with it’s Nix package manager, which is designed to not only support multiple concurrent versions of the same software, but also allow the system to be booted into different configurations, or be rolled back to the exact state it was in at any point in the past. NixOS is a research project, not a consumer oriented desktop, but still it might be worth a look:

  • Sean

    To me it’s incredibly frustrating to see such vast potential wasted the way it is in the Linux community. I am a System Specialist working for one of the top 10 retail websites in the world. I see every day the joys and the horrors of Linux as we use it for our webservers (but AIX for our appservers).

    The general consensus amongst our staff I would say is that no-one except for Linux developers want choice for the sake of choice. No-one wants 500 different distros. No-one wants 30 different IM clients, no-one wants the insane number of useless and broken visual effects on their desktop.

    But most of all NO-ONE except for Linux Developers wants to FIX THEIR OWN SOFTWARE. We want to USE our software.

    What percentage of the world’s population could write a basic shell script (or even have an interest in learning how)? Less than <1%??? Then that's where Linux's desktop market share will stay. Bearing in mind that even in our workplace where we want to work in a nix based environment, most of us choose a mac for the other 90% of the day when we need to GET STUFF DONE.

    The Linux community reminds me of watching a group of 5 year olds playing football (soccer). The ball goes one way, and en masse the whole clump of 22 kids runs that way and swarm all over the ball. Then suddenly it gets kicked the other way and off they all go to swarm all over it with no formation, tactical knowledge, no-one left to defend the goal, and no-one in space ready to accept a pass.
    Linux devs (generally) all swarm to whatever the hot new package, distro, theme of the day, is whilst leaving no-one behind to make sure the audio stack isn't screwed up whilst they are gone. There is no grand strategy (other than f**k Micro$oft lolllllz) and no building of a solid defence such as a single baseline of the critical components that need to be maintained a stable and way so that all developers can count on the critical stuff like video, audio, network, are handled in a consistent and stable way that doesn't get changed because everyone decides 6 months later that another equally broken way is better.

    Can you imagine the improvement in quality if all linux devs concentrated on a maximum of 3 variations of the same distro (perhaps split along the lines of business-focus, desktop-focus, and embedded-focus) instead of splitting their time over an infinite variety of clusterfucks as it does now?

  • yaffare

    I totally disagree with the hole campaign.

    If I wanna pay for a great OS, I use apple. But I use linux because its free.

    Think about it, “Open source for free works!!”, it just takes some time.

    There will always be companies, rich persons who invest or spent money, and
    there will always be developers who do it for free or less.

    I mean just wait 3 years and gimp is there, where photoshop cs5 is today.

    I will throw all my penguins out the window, if this is the way linux goes.

    I hope there are more people with my opinion.

  • undergroundman

    I wrote about this on my blog (, and on standards I agree but about purchasing commercial software I think this:

    I do not agree with Bryant that getting more commercial software available on Linux is important. Linux is the long-run (20-30 years from now) future as more and more people become programmers and the basic software functions that people need become programmed by these people as open-source. With the exception of games, it’s going to make most programmers unemployed and put most software companies out of business. Right now, I can do most of what I want on a Ubuntu laptop in my free-time without paying for anything. Now, that’s not technically true – I do want a better spreadsheet than OpenOffice and I may want to play a game (but not likely). At some point I might want a computer-aided design (CAD) program. But that’s really what’s left that Linux doesn’t have, and these specialized users are not a high percent of the market. Gamers are not a huge percent of computer users either and they will come when all the normal people can trust the OS to browse the web and play music start not buying Windows to save a few hundred bucks on their initial investment. After that they’ll start looking for games and play the Linux ones available (assuming WINE isn’t good enough to run the Windows games anyway).

  • Bob

    I sort of like Windows and Mac better because when you are trying to get something to work, like a mysql gui, you just expect them to work in Windows and Mac. When it doesn’t work in linux or there are a hundred thousand dependencies to get the stupid thing to work you don’t even want to bother to ask for help because all the linux cultists are all about reading the unreadable man pages and other annoying things.

  • Andy

    Brian, watch the LAS and watched this video. It’s refreshing to see someone who is a enthusiast, as is obvious by your presentation week after week on LAS, and yet a realist. I think more tree-hugging-hippy-hackers (not that there’s anything wrong with that per-say) need to realize the simple fact as you so succinctly put it: developers need to eat.

  • Marc

    Also… Can someone slap (or punch) the guy who is playing with the video camera in the face. Zooming in and out moving up and down, right and left.
    Set the video once and for good before to start.
    Have a good week-end nevertheless.

  • Pingback: » Why Linux Sucks (Less Than Before)()