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Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Linux ecosystem in 2015 is still shit for ideological reasons

The Naming of Cats by litratcher from flickr (CC-BY)

My gaming box used to be dual boot between Windows 7 and Kubuntu but I ran into a really bizarre failure mode - something weird happened to my primary SSD that made BIOS hang up during POST - disk was otherwise perfectly fine, I could boot to LiveCD and connect it with SATA hotswap, and after I copied data from it and formatted it it works fine again.

I was too tired after debugging all this to bother with setting another dual boot system, so I just installed Windows 7 on this box, as I mostly use cygwin+sshd for stuff I used to dual boot to Kubuntu anyway.

Still, there's some things that OSX, Windows, and cygwin can't do, and it would be nice to have some kind of access to Linux environment every now and then.

And here's the problem:
  • Linux LiveCDs I tried come with nouveau driver
  • nouveau driver never worked, and it will never work, it's not just slow, it invariably crashed the LiveCD over and over a few minutes after boot
  • I can manually edit boot options to specify nomodeset every time I boot the thing. That stops crashing but instead I get a hideous low resolution and barely usable system - something barely tolerable when I just need it just for some data recovery, not for anything more.
Well, not a big deal. I'll just use a different LiveCD, right? Well, no. Googling was futile, and against all my experience I asked on one of stackoverflow spinoffs. And again - mods invariably turned to be total douchebags and closed the question. Like it happens every single time these days. The fate of stackoverflow which went from zero to really good and then got crushed by mod abuse into its current worthless state - pretty much the moment they decided to create spinoff sites - it would make a good sad Pixar movie. These days I'd probably have better luck asking technical questions on youtube comments.

Anyway, as far as I can tell, there's just no way to do this. The best thing I could find are some hacks to setup a LiveUSB with persistent data, and install working nvidia drivers there. And it's always some massively error prone process with 20+ steps, half of them specific to whichever particular version of the system the instructions were made for, and probably doesn't work if I try it on the most recent one.

It's really ridiculous. Ideological purity is cute, but not if I end up unable to use any Linux whatsoever.

Why do you think desktop Linux lost to OSX so quickly? It's just shit like that. This is merely another example of so many. In Linux world dumb ideology triumphs over basic usability.

In theory Linux on desktop should have won by now. At least up to OSX usage levels of "won". Linux development environment is vastly superior to OSX's, user interface can be better than OSX (except no distro ever bothers setting up sensible defaults, so it takes forever to get there), and it has much better compatibility with Windows ecosystem.

And in spite of all that, almost nobody uses it, and that never changed. Technology is there (Android easily won phone wars, and that's Linux too), and Microsoft's repeated blunders with Vista, Windows 8, etc. created opening after opening for alternative systems to emerge, but Linux distros didn't even try to make something that's just usable. Even technical people just pay extra for OSX instead.

Nothing indicates that it will ever change.

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