People Who Should Not Run Linux

Posted on 2010/10/30. Filed under: Apple, Computing General, Linux General, Operating Systems |

Let’s face it. Nothing is perfect and everybody is different.Β  So it follows that no one operating system can be for everybody. With that in mind, I came up with this list of people who should not use Linux.

1) People with money to burn. There are people who buy a new car every year, have a chateau in the south of France and do not have to save to buy a house. That’s not me, but I hear that they exist. So if you are not money conscious, then you can afford to pay Microsoft or Apple for their latest creation. In fact, you can buy their super, deluxe edition with all of the bells and whistles and probably pay someone else to install it for you. For the rest of us, there is Linux, which is free as in beer and free as in speech, meaning that it costs you nothing and you can give away the disk after you have installed it.

2) People with time on their hands. If you are watching Seinfeld re-runs for the thirty thousandth time and have nothing better to do, then you can probably find the time to maintain your Windows computer. For people who shave or get dressed while they drive to work (not a good idea, I am told), there is Linux. It is low maintenance and it takes less time to install. You can install the operating system, plus drivers and codecs and all of the applications, in less time than it takes to install just Windows.

3) People who are not security conscious. If you do your banking over an insecure wireless connection or in Starbucks, then you probably do not worry about such trivialities as updating or even not running anti-virus, anti-malware and anti-trojan software. Some people make life simple. They run Linux which is more secure and they do not have to deplete system resources with running anti-anything. Also, they know that the bank or online retailer on the other end of the transaction is probably running Linux, too, and they like that.

4) People who like clutter. I know people like this. In fact, I live in close proximity to one, so I know that they exist. Such a person does not mind having their system tray choked with stay resident in memory applications or having every application that you install in making a shortcut to your desktop, plus in the quick launch toolbar, plus add its own group to your menu which grows incrementally large and which is always out of alphabetical order. No, they like having to search for things and then every once in awhile go on a house cleaning spree. People who like order choose Linux where applications do not make shortcuts to anywhere and where the icons are stored in predetermined groups and nothing runs from your system tray unless you want it to. (Now, that I sound totally anal, I confess that I am a messy person who lives a cluttered existence, except on my computer where sanity reigns supreme.)

5) People who like a slow pace. If it takes you ten minutes to climb the stairs, then watching Windows load would seem like but a flash. You would not mind the extra time that it takes for Windows to update your anti-virus, check for updates and run all of those programmes that run in the background, or even the time it takes to click through all of the nag screens to re-boot. You would use that time to walk to the kitchen and have breakfast. When you came back, Windows would hopefully be ready to work. However, if you like a faster pace, then you would choose Linux which boots faster, has no anti-virus updates and it never slows down with time.

6) People who do not care about the environment. So you’ve got more cars than people in your family and one of them is a Hummer. You’ve got a TV in every room and they run 24/7. You never turn off the lights when you leave a room or sort your trash, and speaking of trash, you throw out more than six of your neighbours combined. Linux is not for you. You probably do not care that Linux can be used to make old computers work faster and make them run longer. If I told you that some people run Linux on tiny machines that could not run Windows, you would not be impressed, so I won’t tell you.

7) People who have trouble making up their mind. When I went to east Germany, I saw a store that sold socks, just socks, blue or grey. You got in a line up, so you had time to decide between blue or grey. There were no different brands to choose and only one quality. It was perfect for someone who does not like choice. Windows is like that. So is Mac OS. You get what Microsoft or Apple decides is right for you, one size fits all. You do not have to think or choose, in fact they prefer that you not. But if you like having options and do not mind selecting from lots of choice, then Linux is for you. There are well over 300 distributions or flavours of Linux. The choice does not stop there. You can choose a different desktop environment and choose to run a different one each time you logon. Its kind of like a vacation on your computer. You get a change of scenery whenever you want it. Does this mean that Apple or Microsoft are like communist dictatorships? Hmmm?

8 ) People who do not like change. If you can wait for the next operating system from Apple or Microsoft to come out whenever they make up their minds or to release a fix for that vulnerability that you have heard about six weeks ago that allows people to steal your identity, then Linux is not for you. Sorry. Most Linux distributions come out with new releases at regular intervals and vulnerabilities are rare because Linux is a collaborative effort. Fixes are usually prompt, too, often the next day. But then, you probably like patch Tuesday and look forward to having to instlal 49 patches all at once. Linux is always being developed. A new kernel comes out every few months and distributions offer updates that you can install or not, as you choose.

9) People who like DRM. If you like digital rights management, then you probably do not mind the operating system checking up on you or being told by Apple or Microsoft what you can or cannot do with your computer and files stored there. In fact, you probably do not mind that Microsoft and Apple believe that they own the operating system that you just paid for and that they can decide if you are using it properly or not. If they don’t like what you are doing, then they have the right to lock you out of the operating system or install little bits to check up on you. Linux is open and free and when you install it then you can do anything and everything that you want and nobody checks up or even cares what you do.

10) People who like software shopping. If your idea of a good time is to hop in the car and drive to Staples and look for software or to surf the web and type credit card information into boxes, then Linux is not for you. Linux software is stored in repositories on the internet and it does not come in layers of cardboard and shrink wrapping. Sorry to disappoint you. Linux applications are maintained and checked for compatibility and stored in these secure locations are are accessed from a application on your computer. You select items from a menu and you don’t get to give out your credit card information ahead of time.

11) People who like planned obsolescence. If you think that it is a good idea that Microsoft and OEMs can work together and decide when it is time for you to get new equipment, instead of making old equipment work with a new operating system, then stick with Windows. If you think that it is a good idea that Apple alone makes and sells the hardware and software and that they can determine the level of support without your input, then Mac OS is for you. Linux developers have no cushy relationship with OEMs, so they must work hard to get your old equipment to work and if it does not work there is probably a good reason that goes beyond wanting to sell more.

12) People who have been living under a rock for the past decade. You probably believe the old stories that Linux is hard to use and for geeks only. You probably believe that you need Red Hat certification and a computing degree just to run it. That’s okay, you are not alone. Many people have not used Linux and they only know what they hear and since some companies don’t want you to hear the truth they spread fear, uncertainty and doubt about Linux. Linux users know that it is all a crock, but many of them do not want the truth to get out either. They like it so much that they want to keep it all to themselves.

Linux, it’s okay, but you probably won’t like it.

Please feel free to add to my list.


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21 Responses to “People Who Should Not Run Linux”

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I didn’t read all of it (running here between cloning some hard drives and writing some documentation). What I couldn’t understand though is what money has to do with it. Should I stop using Linux just because I’ve got loads of money? I thought we choose Linux for technological reasons. I’m at least foremost interested in the quality of my working environment, not if it’s free.

My blog was tongue in cheek. Money has lots to do with just about everything. For Microsoft, every computer running Linux is one less not running Windows and revenue lost. Many big companies that make lots of money run Linux. They do it for technological reasons, but also to save money. This is money that they can better use for other things. Google runs Linux. IBM runs Linux. Both want to make money for their share holders. So, no you don’t have to stop using Linux if you have lots of money.

I’ve run Linux for years, and this looks like just another run-of-the-mill fanboi post, except for #2.

Over the last two years, *desktop* Linux has become an absolute sinkhole in terms of time. Server Linux still rocks, but Linux on the desktop is “free as in beer” only if your time is worth nothing.

Time. I think that I address that. Linux takes less time to install. Less time to load. Less time to maintain. Win, win, win. I say, go for Linux every time. Many Linux boxes run for years without any down time. They never need re-booting. Once installed a Linux distro like Debian is rock stable, if that is your objective. All you have to spend your time on is using it. Fanboy? Ouch! πŸ™‚

really, l love the first reason :)))))

but what about the specialised program like Autocad πŸ˜‰

Here is another one:
People who require a specialised application such as AutoCAD. See that was easy. πŸ™‚

Let me add one: People who believe computers should numb their brains, think for them, and rule over them must NOT use Linux. On the contrary, those who think the human being is a creature capable of thinking, creating, and learning should give Linux a try.

I just bent my system into a kernel update… had a package problem..had to turn on the testing repo to get kernel to install and to get video driver too..all seem’s okay so far.. Only about 15 min. Did thru apt-get and a script…You can learn the command line.. I 50+ and not a college geek..

We are all still learning, to paraphrase Michelangelo. When we stop learning we are in trouble. It sounds like you have the right attitude. There are always things that we can learn from others. That is what I like so much about Linux. It is community based and there is so much to gain from others. I never experienced that when I used other operating systems, except in the early days of Apple (II, not Mac).

You forgot one. People who cannot take a joke should not install Linux.

Good one! We need a sense of humour, especially when people enjoy taking shots at Linux. Thick skins, too. πŸ™‚

People with money to burn SHOULD use Linux, because they have that much money by being rational about spending it… They just don’t know any better about this whole deal!

Imagine one of those acting up as a patron (as in patronage) to any or many Linux projects?

Ho ho. People of type 1 above would also want to pay some-one to waste hours and hours updating antivirus solutions etc.

As a GNU/Linux user it sickens me to see such rampant fanboyism coming from my community. These blatant insults only further alienate other users from us.
Also, claiming that GNU/Linux is free from planned obsolecence is a joke – look a Ubuntu and its monthly update schemes. In fact, any non-rolling release distro can be viewed this way.
Stop acting like GNU/Linux is perfect already. It has less flaws than its proprietary alternatives, sure, but it still has many, many flaws.

Funny I went to your website and you look like Windows fanboy. Not that I care. People can use what they want. The difference between Linux and other OSes is that desktop Linux spread by word of mouth. What are you doing to help?

OH MY GOD! Who wrote this? A 12 year old?
How about people who are good at what they do (you know, they exist) and make good money doing it, but don’t know/care much about computers? They want to browse the web, listen to music, watch a movie or print a document. The easier they can do these things or get help doing them – the better. What’s the best OS for this? A Linux distro?
And since almost everybody buys their PCs with Windows pre-installed. It costs them like $70. Which is like 1.5-2 hours of work, if you are a good specialist. Try installing a Linux distro and learning it in that time. You won’t. Now Linux is great if you make it right (e.g. Android). And I use CentOS for work where it makes sense (web dev in my case). But the article above is very biased, fanboyish and disconnected from reality.

We are not going to agree.

I use Linux for everything and am not deprived in the least. It installs faster than Windows. It has lower maintenance and will last the user longer because the next version which is free will not expect you to add RAM or buy a new PC. You either buy into the consumerist ideology or not. I don’t see throwing money away every time they add a new feature as good. Yes work goes into it, but where is the responsibility to the user?

The model is: Sell. Take the user’s money and then he is on his own. Add something new. Promote it to the person that you have never cared about since taking his money. You did not even ask them what they want to change. Repeat the cycle. The whole idea is to make money and not help users or ensure a good experience.

You want reality? The reality is MS sells crap. XP sucked. Vista sucked worse. W7 is better but still sucks. Their file system is ancient and needs a drastic make over. The MS model is to put lipstick on a pig and then promote it. W7was NOT their idea. Vista was their idea. They were forced to update Vista and dress it up as W7 in a hurry because consumers did not like Vista. They will not like W8 at all, BTW. My prediction.

Fanboyish? I am an enthusiast. I care about Linux. I was a Windows user and MS never cared about me. So I left. MS never cared that I or anybody left. All they care about is the bottom line. As long as they can strong arm OEMs to putting crap on their computers then they will be okay and consumers will live in the dark and be brainwashed that computers must all work like Windows, which is to crash, use lots of resources, be full of security holes, slow down over time, etc.

I hear it all of the time. My mother will phone me. Can you fix my computer? My computer used to be fast, but it is slow now. What is this icon that keep popping up in the corner? I do not want it there. Did it ask to be put there? My wife will ask me to install this or that to fix this or that problem, but then a new problem is that messages keep popping up advising her of some threat or Windows asking to reboot when she is in the middle of a spreadsheet or presentation. Can I please make it go away? Or my sister will send an email to me and everyone in her address book to click this link for Vi@gra. Guess what OS they have in common? Not Linux.

I have never had to add any security. I don’t even run AV. I have never had a popup of some threat or request to reboot. I have never had a programme autorun without my express permission. I have not seen a BSOD since leaving Windows (10 years ago) except on others’ computers or in the Olympics. My computer never slows down over time. I never need to defrag a drive. My file system is new and modern. I have never sent a request for porn or Viagra to my friends. It took me 20 minutes to install Linux, but I live in a sane world once it is installed. Windows could be so much better if MS cared about its users and security instead of sales.

Windows is an option for some, but not for me. I own a copy of both XP and W7 and would not use either. Five minutes on Windows and I am cursing its shortcomings which are many.

“I hear it all of the time. My mother will phone me. Can you fix my computer? My computer used to be fast, but it is slow now. What is this icon that keep popping up in the corner? I do not want it there. Did it ask to be put there? My wife will ask me to install this or that to fix this or that problem, but then a new problem is that messages keep popping up advising her of some threat or Windows…”

LOL, I understand you, my story exactly πŸ™‚ But isn’t that a user-related problem? PCs running Linux are not targeted by malware authors since they are so niche and are used by geeks, not average users. Had Linux had 90% percent market share, do you think malware would suddenly disappear or people would stop writing viruses or OEMs stop pre-installing crap on PCs they sell? Yeah, they will no longer have to subsidize Windows’ price, so perhaps there will be less crap, but it’s only a guess.

Honestly, I don’t have any of these issues. And my laptop works very fast. Granted, I put an SSD into it, but I multitask heavily. My mother uses a $600 laptop with 2Gb of RAM, running Vista. She has like 20 tabs open in Chrome and 10 in Firefox, multiple Excel windows and some Explorer windows, also a Skype running and some toolbars and tray icons of some suspicious software she claims she did not install. Of course everything’s slow! If I used a $600 laptop like that, I’d get the same result. Also, malware doesn’t come from nowhere. If you have it, you have poor habits of opening every attachment without giving it a thought, believing everything your read on the internet (“OMG! You computer is infected! Run FREE check now!”) and visiting untrusted websites. You don’t get malware reading WIRED or searching Google. You get it from torrent, free mp3, file sharing, cracks kind of websites. And it won’t actually download and run itself, *you* have to do it. So who is to blame? Windows?

No system is perfect, each has its weak and strong points. But for a desktop OS I much prefer Windows. I think, paying for software is a norm and you can’t expect everyone to open their source code. I have some great software with very responsive developers that I paid for, e.g. PDF X-Change reader (best reader on *any* platform, I actually bought it just because support was such response to implement my every request in the following versions of software), some developer tools like Ansca Mobile’s Corona SDK (best cross-platform mobile game engine I know of and I’ve tried many, their support is amazing! money well spent) and TexturePacker with PhysicsEditor that let you develop mobile games with relative ease, Lingvo from Abbyy Software – the best (most full dictionary) I know of, etc. This is all *excellent* paid closed-source software that *does not* run on Linux. At this point it doesn’t matter how great your Linux box is. Give me this and other software on Linux and I might switch. I don’t care if not free or closed-source, I’m a developer myself but won’t bother adding features and fixing somebody else’s bug in my free time. I’d rather report them and do something else fun. Great software with great support is what matters most. And we all know how unresponsive and slow at implementing features open source developers can be. Yes, they are not getting money for it. But why do I care? I actually donated to many open source developers, but not because their apps are free or open, but because those particular apps are so useful and I think that every great work should be rewarded. Open sources or zero price tag don’t matter much.

Microsoft needs more competition, but desktop Linux is not there yet.

“PCs running Linux are not targeted by malware authors since they are so niche and are used by geeks, not average users. Had Linux had 90% percent market share, do you think malware would suddenly disappear or people would stop writing viruses or OEMs stop pre-installing crap on PCs they sell? Yeah, they will no longer have to subsidize Windows’ price, so perhaps there will be less crap, but it’s only a guess.”

I take issue that it is a niche market. Linux is huge at the server level. Most of the internet runs of free software, either Linux or BSD. Many of the largest corporations run Linux. Think Amazon, eBay, Paypal, London Stock Exchange. If the motivation of virus and malware writers is to cause damage, make money or get notoriety it is there. Yes, on the desktop, Linux is small, but overall it is not.

The second thing I take issue with is that virus writers do not go after Linux because it is small and that if it was as large a Windows then it would have a similar level of problem. That is pure MS FUD. The REAL reason why there are few Linux viruses and malware is because it is easily contained and hard to spread in Linux. The userspace and OS are separate. You cannot affect the boot sector, grub, or the file system without granting access to those areas. You have to be an idiot to grant permission. So any virus that could affect Linux would likely be contained to the userspace and specific files. There are idiots and former Windows users who are used to clicking without reading, but Linux users are not conditioned to this. Their spidey sense goes into action because we are not used to popup windows and things auto-running. IF a virus was successful in getting past one user then it is not likely to spread because the typical user is not an idiot. Linux users tend to follow established protocols.

Another problem for a virus in Linux is that there are few executable files and you change a file to make it executable, but that requires root permission. You can hide an executable file in Windows, but it is not easy to do in Linux. A third problem is that Linux software is stored in maintained repositories. Users who install outside of the repositories usually know what they are doing because of the way dependencies are handled. A fourth problem for virus writers is that there is no central registry. This means that you are unlikely to score big damage. A fifth reason is that open source is open. There is transparency and developers check each other’s code for security problems. If one is found it is not kept quite. There is no corporate denial. There is no waiting till patch Tuesday. Code is quickly patched and exploits are closed as quickly as they become known. Yes, there are security flaws in Linux. But the open source model works more efficiently to close them. Updates are so regular that the target is constantly changing, so finding an exploit is not as easy.

Now if ANY of what I have said was true (and all of it is) this would provide a significant motivation for any hacker. Just look at what happened when SONY announced that the PS3 is now uncrackable or that WEP is secure. Hackers love a challenge.

There WOULD be Linux viruses and malware if it was likely to be successful. There would be much in the way of notoriety. There is potential financial gain, too. If you could bring down the London Stock Exchange or Paypal, then you could make some money as stocks would react and if you knew in advance then you could be rich.

Microsoft wants us to believe that Linux does not get viruses because it is small potatoes. That is pure FUD and demonstrably untrue. There are differences in Linux users and Windows users. There are differences in the OSes that makes Windows an easy target and Linux a difficult target. Linux on the desktop is much smaller, but in niche markets Linux is huge.

I agree that no system is perfect. People should use what they want. My intention in writing was to point out that Linux is an option that many do not consider. Most PC users do not even know of its existence. Most are conditioned by proprietary makers that free means bad. That also is untrue. I wish that I had a fraction of the money back for all of the bad commercial software that I paid for when I used Windows. If people consider Linux and reject it then that is a victory because it gets Linux’s name out there. We have no advertising budget or retail presence.

Finally I argue with your last point, too. The Linux Desktop IS there. It SEEMS to be not there because the playing field is not even. IF it was then Linux desktop would be equal or superior.

IF Windows did not come pre-installed as is the case with Linux then people would see what hard installation is. Linux installs in a fraction of the time. It comes with a partition editor. It gives users a choice of automatic or custom installation. Users who want it can choose a different file system, RAID etc. Automatic is as easy as Windows. You choose where to put it, a user name and password. When I install Linux it detects my printer, ethernet, graphics card, camera and wireless. I have zero CDs to find for attached peripherals. I do not have to install an office suite, an email client, a browser, a CD burner, a backup tool, a picture editor and manager, a pdf reader, an IM and microblogging client, and I have many games, utilities and accessories pre-installed. If you factor in post installation time to add an office suite etc. plus all of the driver disks then it is no contest. I once counted key presses in Windows XP and Ubuntu and Ubuntu had less than half, and it was faster by far and came with more OTB.

IF Linux had the support that Windows has from OEMs then there would be no hardware advantage.

You say that the Linux desktop is not there yet. I say, that it is there, but that Windows has two advantages that have NOTHING to do with OS superiority. It comes pre-installed and OEM support. If Linux had those then it would be a better experience for users. Those are two big IFs, I realize. The OEMS and MS scratch each other’s backs requiring users to spend money on new devices and new software. Linux cannot play that game. If they, did then I would switch to another OS.

How about this?
Despite the topic’s name the discussion is sensible and points mentioned come from people who actually *like* Linux.

True some of the issues are not exactly Linux problems, like bad OEM support. They are end user problems, arising from using Linux. Say, if you are a musician and your audio interface works in Windows or Mac OS and you have a ton of DAW software to choose from, why would you use Linux where your device doesn’t work and software choices are very limited, and even those are far behind in terms of features. If you are an ISV programmer, would you spend your very limited resources porting your app for 1% of the users with very particular mentality about how software should be? And a significant percentage of this 1% are of the rebel kind, who don’t want to pay for anything. There’s just too many things that have to change first in order for Linux to become truly mainstream on desktop.

But you are making a good point. If there was just one highly dominant distro with something like 2-year release cycle, really reliable (here I mostly mean the non-kernel stuff), optimally pre-configured with universal OEM support and huge community around it. But alas. We have a mess with way too many distros coming out every six months and so poorly tested that Windows beta feels much more stable.

Thanks for reading. This is a rather old article. I should start writing again. It seems to be a winter pastime for me. I have lots to say. Some is even critical of Linux. πŸ™‚

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