Although some members of the internet community maintain that Linux is a nigh on perfect operating system, it has had, and still has, its problems.
In what he calls an "act of love" one brave geek has stumped up a list of the top 10 things wrong with Linux today.
Adam Wiggins, chief software architect for ecommerce secure payment company TrustCommerce, and Linux enthusiast, posted the list last week in a bid to stimulate more interest in fixing its faults.
"Three years ago journalists and industry pundits complained loudly that Linux had 'no journalling filesystem!'. Today it has a dozen. Everyone complained: 'No good web browsers!'. Today there are half a dozen. Everyone complained: 'No good office suites!'. Today there are three or four," he said.
"So, in that spirit, I am now going to complain loudly about every major nit pick I can think of."
1. No 'best' browser
Although there are lots of good browser choices, there is "no one reasonable default choice that can be made available to users", he said, adding that Konqueror only enjoys popularity because it's the default for the KDE desktop. "Ironically, the same reason that Internet Explorer enjoys such success on Windows."
Problems across the board for most browsers include show stopping bugs, poor font support and, in Mozilla's case, lack of desktop integration.
2. Prompting for a filesystem scan
"Bad on the desktop, killer on the server." When a system has an unclean shutdown, the reboot process is hampered by a filesystem scan that typically demands the user to answer a bunch of cryptic questions, such as whether to fix deleted inodes. "The system should just fix the filesystem ... and get on with booting," said Wiggins.
3. Printing needs to be easier to configure
Linux often forces the user to choose between drivers, but Wiggins pointed out that "the user doesn't care what driver they use. They just want to be able to print at the maximum speed and quality possible."
His advice is to offer fewer choices and give easy access to print job control, as well as GUI-based diagnosis and correction of errors such as printer jams.
4. Make it easy for the user to find out how to do things
It's hard for the new user to work out how to perform tasks with Linux, and searching the web is a long and arduous process.
"Linux comes with a wealth of applications and toys that could keep the user busy for years without ever downloading or purchasing any additional software. Let's make this obvious," said Wiggins.
5. Cleaner redraws
Slow or flickery window updates. "I have only ever seen one operating system do it right, and that's Mac OSX." Wiggins even said that "the latest version of Windows is not bad".
"This isn't a speed issue, really; it's a how-you-update-the-screen issue," he added.
6. Die, stray processes. Die!
In Linux you have to exit to a console and start running the 'killall' command, but this is lame for non-technical users. When an application has no windows open, the windows manager should attempt to kill its processes.
7. Easy way of sharing files
Ideally a right-click on a directory and choosing 'share this directory', would work, although Wiggins explained that network file sharing is easy to set up if you know what you're doing. "If you don't know the magic keywords to add to server and client, you're pretty much screwed," he said.
8. Sound support
"The Open Sound System was great a few years ago and continues to offer support for modern cards, but it is commercial and it is showing its age," he said. This will be improved when the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture makes it into the mainstream.
9. No common editor which supports 'soft wrapping'
Problems remain with word wrapping, where you can go back and edit a line and the rest of the paragraph will reformat itself automatically. Many text editors only support hard wrapping.
10. No easy way to configure X Windows
This can be especially annoying when you want to change resolution on the fly. "This is, I believe, the longest running embarrassment of the free software desktop," said Wiggins.
Wiggins's full critique of the Linux OS can be found here, along with a top list of things that have been fixed.
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