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Since Ross has brought up the topic of Linux I figured it would be a perfect time to talk about my experience with it. I've played around with various Linux OSes like Arch, Debian, Fedora etc. Out of all the Linux distros I like Arch the most because it is rolling release and this is a very minor nitpick but I just like Arch's command line syntax more than the others. Most of Arch's commands are very short making it very easy for you to rapidly execute a series of commands in one go. I also think that Arch's commands just look cleaner. I wish it was more stable but Manjaro Linux https://manjaro.github.io/ has got me covered in this regard and it's the one I use to get Arch's syntax and rolling release without the hassle of instability.

 

I plan to expand my technical skillset with Linux as I'm smack dab in the middle when comes to experience. Not a master of Linux but definitely not a rookie either. Though I'm not really sure which direction I want to go in. System admining looks like fun but I don't like the fact that their function is stabilizing servers. Pen testing looks promising as I love the idea of using exploits to gain access into a system(legally of course) and just breaking things in general. People have told me I'll want to move onto playing with VMs of Arch Linux and Debian Sid so I can gain general technical knowledge while I'm deciding. I'd like to pick a career that works with unstable/bleeding edge Linux OSes. But I'm not sure if that exists or not.

 

I've got Windows 7 on one HDD and I've also got another blank HDD for which I'm going to use for installing Manjaro and then installing VMs in the Manjaro HDD. So what is your experience with Linux?

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I've tried Ububntu, (disgusting default UI, not a simple design to move to from 20+ years of Microsoft OSes) and Fedora... Was planning on trying Mint, but the power supply for my Linux box burned out, and I haven't the money to replace it yet.

 

The biggest problem I have with existing distros is their inexplicable desire to keep every advanced setting locked into the command line only, and none of the devs will ever even consider making a GUI for it. (by the way they respond, it's like asking if you can eat their firstborn child)

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I've tried Ububntu, (disgusting default UI, not a simple design to move to from 20+ years of Microsoft OSes) and Fedora... Was planning on trying Mint, but the power supply for my Linux box burned out, and I haven't the money to replace it yet.

 

The biggest problem I have with existing distros is their inexplicable desire to keep every advanced setting locked into the command line only, and none of the devs will ever even consider making a GUI for it. (by the way they respond, it's like asking if you can eat their firstborn child)

GNOME is pretty bad too. I don't know why devs feel the need to "innovate". GNOME and Unity are nothing but layers upon layers of really unhelpful features. All the other desktops like XFCE and LXDE are relatively normal in comparison.

 

I keep hearing from a lot of people that Linux in general is really toxic. I honestly don't think that's the case though. It really comes down to who you're talking to. Like the Arch Linux Forums are complete assholes. The Debian and Ubuntu forums seem much more willing to help newcomers.

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Willing to help in words only, not in actual development... As I said earlier, ask them to make a GUI for something like hardware settings, and they act like you're Hitler reincarnated.

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Willing to help in words only, not in actual development... As I said earlier, ask them to make a GUI for something like hardware settings, and they act like you're Hitler reincarnated.

I definitely agree that Linux is severely lacking when comes to GUIs. I often thought of it as just a different kind of thinking as I like using the command line considerably more than I do using a GUI. But then I took sometime to think about it and clearly one mode of thinking is valued more than the other. At the end of the day all I want to do is support Linux as much as I physically can and one means of getting effective support would be to increase it's accessibility. So why would you discriminate against GUIs? I will say that even though I don't find Linux in general to be very toxic there's this one particularly frustrating quirk that seems to be pretty universal with all of them. There seems to be this unwillingness to open up to every opportunity with the Linux community to gain them traction. It's almost like their doing this deliberately out of spite or something. With Linux being Open-source there are countless possibilities that Linux could pursue and technically they have although not the realm of actual OSes. So while Linux has improved significantly over the past couple of years I would still say that the opportunities for them still lie in the dark due to them being not willing to pursue those opportunities and quite frankly that's a shame. I can only imagine the things Linux could've accomplished if the community was more open.

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100% agree. The free Linux distros for PCs (that means not Android/Chromebook, or Red Hat, etc.) do seem to be avoiding going mainstream... It's so unfortunate. With the introduction of Vulkan, Linux would be a far superior OS for gaming, but none of the devs seem to want that.

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The fact that regressive neckbeardy hipsters have reduced Linux to a simple status for them to use to make themselves feel important is insulting. Because posting that you installed Arch Linux on your first try on Twitter is what Linux is there for right? Hipsters seem like a prime target for cultural cleansing. Just call me hipsteritler, instigator of the mass genocide against the hipsters :twisted: . But seriously Linux has so much potential available for it . But Linux won't get anywhere if no one willing to support those new ideas. Linux deserves so much more than these assholes.

 

I realize that this is just me repeating myself at this point. I just thought this post was a lot better than my previous one.

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Arch Linux is fun, but hard to get into for most people. Stuff like Debian and Linux Mint work well for people trying to learn, but most of the time its hard to teach someone how to adjust to the terminal. Most people are just too use to simple GUIs that do pretty much everything for them, but with some practice things are way easier and faster with commands. The Linux community recognizes this so they're perpetually stuck in a position where they just make software reliant on the terminal. It makes it harder for people to get into. The two hardest steps into transitioning to Linux is picking a distro and then learning terminal commands.

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It's only faster with CLI if you're a fast typer, and have all commands memorized... If either of those criteria are not met, (and the second one is difficult to , considering that every single program can have completely different command structures) then a GUI will be faster.

 

CLI is for programmers, GUI is for everyone else.

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I've used a few distros in my time but my favourite has to be Arch. Pacman is such a nice package manager, and the fact that Arch is so bare bones makes it immensely customisable. I do run Debian on my web server though, and it's very nice for uses such as that. As for CLI, I'm a pretty fast type(110wpm average, 130 on a good day), but I still prefer a GUI for some things. Quickly browsing a directory is much quicker in a CLI, but having thumbnails for images in a GUI makes it much nicer to actually peruse.

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Arch Linux is fun, but hard to get into for most people. Stuff like Debian and Linux Mint work well for people trying to learn, but most of the time its hard to teach someone how to adjust to the terminal. Most people are just too use to simple GUIs that do pretty much everything for them, but with some practice things are way easier and faster with commands. The Linux community recognizes this so they're perpetually stuck in a position where they just make software reliant on the terminal. It makes it harder for people to get into. The two hardest steps into transitioning to Linux is picking a distro and then learning terminal commands.

I think the main problem with Arch is the fact that it's a pure, cutting edge, rolling release distro. There's definitely a barrier to entry when it comes to rolling release distros if you compare them to non rolling release distros. If you're used to just updating whenever there's an update available then you will break packages in Arch. That's something you'll have to unlearn if you want to use Arch. It took me a while to figure this out and in the process my Arch VMs broke like 7 times.

 

That's what I like about Manjaro. It's a rolling release distro but it's stable when compared to Arch. The devs took their time to make sure that none of the packages they forked from Arch were broken. If the packages were broken then they would hold off making those packages available until it was fixed for the stable branch while simultaneously making it available to the unstable branch. It's the best of both worlds IMO.

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I've tried to get into Linux a few times (I give it a go pretty much once a year), but it's never worked out, for pretty much the reasons others have outlined already.

 

I don't have an interest in system tinkering as a preoccupation unto itself, I just want an alternative for when Windows finally becomes too closed for even my plebeian tastes/needs (they've been inching closer and closer with each generation). I've always been ultimately put off by how even the most "friendly" Linux distros still require CLI for almost literally everything. They aren't real GUIs, they're just wallpapers that look like GUIs until you actually try to do something... anything.

 

To a non-coder, working with the CLI is like working with the Necronomicon. It's all about blindly reciting incantations you can't pronounce, in a language you don't understand, where one wrong syllable, one wrong inflection, one rune (in an alphabet you can't read) mis-copied in the diagram chalked on the floor can mean either nothing happens or disaster happens. And you may never know what or why.

 

Coders don't fully understand this, I think, because they tend take their prior knowledge for granted, and mentally downplay the investment it took them too acquire it. Because it's simple for them now, they think it's simpler to a newcomer than it actually is, and they underestimate how much their personal fascination with coding played a part in learning.

 

If there was one thing I could tell the devs of mass-market oriented distros like Ubuntu and Mint, it'd be: The average user should never have to know CLI even exists. As far as the mass market is concerned, if you, as a designer, ever have to tell someone to open the terminal, that means you already failed. This is the idea that lead Apple and Microsoft to conquer the world; the idea which arguably created the sophisticated tech-rich world of today by putting a computer in every home and business, creating a mass market to drive tech development. Without this idea, you'd have no public internet (and by extension, no e-commerce, no Netflix, no Freeman's Mind, etc), no smart phones, no all kinds of tech and socioeconomic game changers we take for granted. As long as the Linux bubble is resistant to acknowledging, much less embracing the same realization, Linux will always be the redheaded stepchild OS.

 

The Linux community seems culturally stuck in 1982, back when the idea that a non-programmer had no business owning a computer was a flat out truth. Meanwhile, in actual modern reality, computers are everyday appliances, essential to basic modern life, and demanding that users know how to code just to use your OS at all is worse than demanding every car owner be a mechanic.

 

It's an attitude with a bizarre, indeliberate anti-progress irony to it.

 

And I rant say that as someone who really, really wants to like and use Linux.

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@Connectamabob yes I agree 100%. It is my belief that software should as simplistic to use as possible. I'm pretty certain that most CLI commands could be GUIfyed(horray for making up words) and thus be more approachable to the average user. I would love to work with people who follow a similar philosophy but Sadly there doesn't seem to be much incentive to make Linux more user friendly. Linux has a very passionate community surrounding it and they treat Linux like their baby. So if the community doesn't want something it's not going to happen. Each Linux distro caters to a very very specific audience, only that specific audience and that's a huge fault. On top of that most average users would rather stick with OS they already have. There's plenty of circumstances as to why isn't Linux is popular and unfortunately they're not likely to change.

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I managed to do a decent test run of Mint (LMDE) and it is currently my #1 choice for "leaving Microsoft OSes altogether". Decent GUI capability, easy install, fast and functional.

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From what I see, Linux is getting more and more popular, so we are on a good track.

Also number of games for Linux is growing quite fast.

It's nice to see AF community discuss this topic.

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How much percentage do you think Linux users represent? I get the feeling it's very small. I hear a lot about Linux but never know who actually uses it :/

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Depends on what area you're looking at... In the desktop market, Linux is only around 3%. Servers get it up to 45%, and cellphones are around 90%.

 

Fortunately people are starting to get to the point that they are fed up with the Microsoft and Apple data mining OSes, and are switching to Linux at a much faster rate than previously. That 3% might be 5% by 2020.

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Interesting, the server percentage is a bit less than I thought actually. Are they your stats or official?

 

In terms of Windows vs. Linux, this comparison sheds a bit of light on the web servers:

 

"These two operating systems have dominated the web-hosting market for years and compete today for digital hegemony, with Linux maintaining a noticeable lead...While Windows offers more complex functions for structuring work and communication flows, Linux scores with its status of being the preferred option for web applications, such as content management systems."

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The server percentage is my personal approximation of the various existing statistics gathered, after weighing the reliability of the various methods used, and lumping the statistics together, those are rounded to the nearest 5%. Windows has ~35% server marketshare, and the rest is a variety of other OSes, mainly Unix and derivatives.

 

Just an FYI, 1&1 company is owned by United Internet, and has a history of skewing the numbers to better represent themselves. I would take anything they have to say with a pinch of salt or maybe a handful or two...

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