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Tear me a new one

I got roundly thrashed at LinuxToday for suggesting that Linux might not be ready to take over the world just yet. It wasn't all that bad - as usual, there were some nice, friendly people and even the complaints weren't particularly vicious. Or maybe they were and I'm just too thick skinned to notice..

One short comment just to set the tone - you can go read the others if you want:


Joe Average would have fewer problems than you do. It would seem that Joe is smarter than you give him credit for being and that you are not as smart as you think you are.

Perhaps he is and perhaps I'm not. My experience over many decades tells me otherwise, but I've been wrong before, and I can be surprisingly stupid at times.

I was wrong about Klipper. It's definitely a KDE app, but it actually will run on Ubuntu. It throws out a load of KDE messages, but it ends up in the task bar and it works. You can't get direct help and if you tell it to configure itself to run on login, of course it will configure KDE files and fail, but hey: it WORKS.

Some Linux folk are a bit sensitive on the subject of Linux flaws. In an email, someone else admitted to having given up on Glipper, saying "Building software that depends on Python bindings to Gnome is a mess in general", but argued "that's the developer's fault". Well, yes it is. But Linux *is* a product of developers. When I say "Linux needs to be better", of course I mean that developers need to be better.

But that's not fair! There are too many distros, too many desktops, too many variables.. ok, fine. So put a disclaimer: "We tested this on X and Y with Z: you may have major difficulties if you stray from that". And let the distros take note and NOT stray when they shouldn't.

I think a lot of it is developer laziness. Laziness is a good trait in programmers: reuse of software is generally a good thing. But it has its cost in dependencies that can frustrate and break things outright. There is a middle ground, I think.

I think Linux is the best hope for the future of computing. I also think it has important political aspects. I want Linux to succeed.

As I've said before, I'm not a Linux fanboy or a Mac fanboy. I feel some guilt about using OS X. But I'm not quite ready to put up with the extra effort that Linux still requires if I were to use it as my daily machine. In the same vein, I'm not ready to gushingly recommend Linux to anyone else without attaching many a caveat and disclaimer.

By the way, Parcellite works fine on Ubuntu 8.10. It's a no frill clipboard manager. As it turns out, Klipper works in spite of it being designed for KDE. If I were using Ubuntu as my primary desktop, I think I'd choose Klipper over Parcellite.

Anyway, happy 2009 to all. May Linux continue to improve and may Joe Average someday have nothing to complain about.



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