I love Linux, but the distributions for desktop systems isn’t fun to navigate. It’s the reason why I haven’t done a Distro review in a year or more.
Linux itself and GNU tools are some of the best I’ve ever used, I actually like systemd, and its display renders are adequate.
Distributions are often cobbled together and not well optimized with some exceptions, but I’m often disappointed from the lack of polish. This isn’t a knock against the developers of these distributions, they don’t have the resources to succeed. They don’t have the massive budgets like the big tech operating system equivelents and why they are so… strange.
Besides there being 100+ distributions and most of them cannibalizing off each other, they don’t have a cohesive system a lot of time. They try to emulate Windows or Mac and always fall short. In the end, they typically all have the same options, but each choose a bit differently.
Choice isn’t bad… Right?
The biggest pitfall is that they all take different design decisions and often fall short in areas. This couldn’t be more evident than the success of the Steam Deck and Chrome OS.
With steamdeck selling over a million units this year, and Chrome OS being a staple in every classroom across America… a Linux distribution can be far reaching. Chrome OS is Gentoo Linux at it’s core and Steam Deck is an immutable version of Arch, so these ARE Linux distributions.
What do they do so well?
You can ask any Linux neckbeard… they will say they have money, marketing, and influence. This is true, but it isn’t the complete picture. I’d say the one thing these two distributions do better than ANYONE else is a cohesive vision and quality control. The interfaces don’t change and they keep getting better as they age and get updated. No other Linux distribution does this that has such bleeding edge packages.
Both Chrome OS and Steam Deck get update at least once a month and sometimes more often. This is where most Linux distributions fail because they don’t have the man power to develop at such a rapid pace or the money to quality test it like these corporate system can.
Debian and Fedora. They are MASSIVE and give all the options in the world that you could want. My system will be as good or bad as I can make it, but I decide. If something happens on my system, I screwed up.
This is where the disconnect happens with normal users. They hear Linux is this stable system that never breaks. While this is true in the server realm, Linux desktop is not a consistent experience because of the distributions it has. With too much choice, too many underfunded projects, and little quality control… there will be problems. Users won’t understand this foriegn system, instructions will be out of date or non-existent, and support will be spotty at best.
Last month, Arch Linux had a bad update that BROKE GRUB and users couldn’t boot their system for example.
Not by a long shot! I’ll continue using mine as a main staple for a long time yet. I just don’t see the community run Linux distributions ever hitting mainstream. That’s ok!
What WILL Happen is big companies like Steam, Google, and others, will take Linux and refine their own VISION of the perfect computer using it. All these companies will make better and better verisons of Linux and we won’t be talking about Linux distrubtions anymore.
What about FOSS and the neckbeards that Linux IS founded on!?! Well… there is always BSD.