Top 10 Things Wrong With Linux, Today

Adam Wiggins has written a fascinating paper called “Top 10 Things Wrong With Linux, Today“. Essential reading, although I don’t agree with all of his points. Stuff I don’t agree with: Mozilla’s non-desktop-integration being a problem. I’m certainly not finding it so. And Gecko’s rendering is so, so, so far ahead of everything else currently available that it should just be used to the exclusion of all else. Filesystem scans being a problem. Well, sort of. I can see that it would be good if that stuff happened automatically; maybe have a 60 second countdown timer during which you can interrupt the automatic process and do it the hard way. However, I don’t know the failure modes for having it automatically happen — I hit “y” for all the fixes questions because I don’t know any better. Some of his comments seem to be rather Windows-influenced; he identifies a problem and then suggests a solution which is a clone of how MS Windows approaches a solution. Look at, say, his suggestion for how printer dialogs should work (‘…it gives you two choices: “Set up a printer attached to my computer”, and “Set up a printer from the network.” ‘ — that looks jolly familiar). I don’t necessarily think that that’s the right approach — how about probing for a local printer instead of asking the question, huh? With an advanced “I’ll tell you what to do, don’t do it automatically” button? Redmond is not the source of all good usability innovations. The “die stray processes, die!” suggestion is, um. Good. If it could be 100% guaranteed to work right, all the time, and never, ever, ever kill a process that it wasn’t supposed to. I am deeply sceptical that this could happen, and the first time that my OS stamps on a process that I’m using because it thinks I don’t need it any more, I’ll chuck out that bit of functionality, no matter how useful it’s been in the past. He has also written a complementary essay, “Top N Things That Have Been Solved, which is a neat list of old problems that have since been killed. Kudos on an excellent essay, Adam. ——-

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