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  • My Linux experiences

    Posted on steeviebops Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    This topic contains 4 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  mn– 2 days, 8 hours ago.

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    • #2013646 Reply

      steeviebops
      AskWoody Lounger

      Sorry if this sounds ranty but I’m a bit confused. I’ve played around with Linux (mainly Ubuntu or Mint) over the years but never really considered it a serious contender for replacing Windows on a desktop. I hear people say all the time that it is, but I just don’t see it myself unless I’m completely thick? I’m really curious if there’s something painfully obvious that I’m missing.

      My biggest issue is with application installation and management. For example, let’s say I want to install FileZilla. I run sudo apt install filezilla and it installs, right? Sure, but it’s quite an old version. If I want the latest one, I have to compile it from source. Then I run into lots of issues with missing dependencies that aren’t available via apt so these have to be compiled too. I haven’t yet been able to successfully compile FileZilla as I just can’t find what I need and get frustrated after a while. Whereas on Windows I can just download the latest version, install and I’m done in a minute or less. I also find the case-sensitive filesystem to be a complete headache when running bash.

      It’s things like this that make me believe that Linux is intended for software developers. Is it just me or does anyone else feel like this? I don’t think the average user wants to be (or knows how to be) compiling from source just to keep their applications up to date.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2013664 Reply

      Microfix
      Da Boss

      In my 10 years+ homeuser experience of linux distro hopping (hoping?) I have been in the same situation looking for more recent versions, sometimes to no avail. Maintainers of distro repositories know what is best for each distro version, it’s a case of trust. I trust them and have had no issues with repo apps. However, newer apps outwith the repo’s can create issues and I just stopped going there, as one thing led to another with dependancies so you’re not the only one 🙂
      Distro’s are a WIP (work-in-progress) which is why I hop around on newer LTS releases (ocassionally on 9 month versions)
      There’s also the alternatives of using a VM or Wine emulation within linux distros that can come in handy at times.
      ATM I’m sourcing qt5 dependancies for LXQt (openbox,i3) as KDE uses these, which is very fast on older gear especially on our old testbed atom netbook which is quicker now on LXQt than it was on LXDE. I’m really starting to like LXQt as time goes on..

      ********** Win7 x64/x86 | Win8.1 x64 | Linux Hybrids x64 **********

    • #2013665 Reply

      JohnW
      AskWoody Plus

      There are many Linux applications that can be installed from the distro repository, without building them.

      And there are some that need to be built.

      Linux is not “intended” for any particular person, it is just a free and open source Unix-like operating system, that anyone who is interested in it can use.

      There are probably far more server installations of Linux worldwide, than desktop, so that is probably its most popular use.

      The Linux desktop application market is still rather small, so that area appeals more to do-it-yourselfers.

      If you require a large, mature, desktop application market, Windows or Mac are still your best bet.

    • #2013688 Reply

      Ascaris
      AskWoody_MVP

      My biggest issue is with application installation and management. For example, let’s say I want to install FileZilla. I run sudo apt install filezilla and it installs, right? Sure, but it’s quite an old version. If I want the latest one, I have to compile it from source.

      Or see if there is a PPA (on Ubuntu and derivatives) that offers the newer version, which there usually is:

      sudo add-apt-repository ppa:sicklylife/filezilla

      Then you can install the newest version using ‘apt install filezilla’ or the package manager of your choice.  I usually use Muon or Synaptic to install things like that, without having to bother with the command line.

      Once that’s done, Filezilla gets updated just like any system file, where you can lock it to one version if you wish, or let the latest version always install, or just pick and choose which updates you want, without having 20 programs trying to run at boot-up just to check for a later version of the program like in Windows.  It would be like being able to add any program you install to Windows Update, only it would be the Windows update of earlier Windows versions like 7, not the Windows Update of Windows 10, where the user can’t pick and choose what to install.

      With any given Linux distro, you don’t have issues like the one someone mentioned in the thread about Brave (and I’ve read similar things about Firefox) where the Windows version just updates itself whenever it feels like it, regardless of what the user wants.  You also don’t have the problems mentioned in that thread where if you want to uninstall Brave from Windows, it leaves bits of itself behind, like so many other programs do.  This is probably one of the chief causes of Windows rot, the phenomenon where Windows gets slower and slower over time, which leads some people to periodically wipe Windows, reinstall, and start from scratch with reconfiguring everything.

      There is no equivalent Linux rot, but if you wanted to reinstall it for some other reason, you wouldn’t have to recreate everything from scratch, as it doesn’t have a registry that is a binary-coded mix of the settings for programs and for the OS that must be recreated by the Windows installer at the time Windows is installed for it to work.  Many of us have /home on a separate partition, so it is possible to drop in a new Linux installation quite easily.  Most of the important settings (for example, browser configuration… bookmarks, saved passwords, history, extensions, settings, etc.) are stored in the user’s home directory, so if you reinstall the program in the new Linux installation, it will automatically pick up the settings where they were before.

      Whereas on Windows I can just download the latest version, install and I’m done in a minute or less.

      Which you can also do in Linux by making use of the links at the bottom of the Filezilla page, at the bottom:

      https://filezilla-project.org/download.php?show_all=1

      If the Filezilla devs didn’t have those ready-to-go binaries, though, it wouldn’t be an issue of Linux being for developers… it would be an issue of the Filezilla devs not bothering to release a Linux version that was ready to go.  Having to compile things oneself to get the latest version of something is not common, and in my time with Linux (which is not that long compared to some; I have only used it with the intention of replacing Windows since 2015), I’ve only done it twice, and that’s using distros (Mint, Neon) that are based on LTS versions of Ubuntu, which tend to have older packages than those you would find in the short-term Ubuntu distros.  That’s not a failing of “Linux,” as it were, but a result of the decisions of developers of software choosing not to offer ready-to-go precompiled binaries.

      In that same time frame, I’ve installed hundreds of Linux things as ready-to-go binaries.

      I’m not a software developer, so it’s not second nature to be able to compile and install anything.  In both cases where I did compile something, the developers of said software at least provided simple step-by-step instructions I was able to cut and paste into the terminal.  It just takes a couple of minutes, and is no harder than cutting and pasting anything else.  In both cases, I could have had a newer version if I was using the latest Ubuntu version instead of a derivative of LTS.  We can’t force the devs of these programs to offer precompiled, ready to go binaries if they don’t want to, but they usually do offer them, or someone else in the community does.

      Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.17.4).

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2014011 Reply

        mn–
        AskWoody Lounger

        Having to compile things oneself to get the latest version of something is not common, and in my time with Linux (which is not that long compared to some; I have only used it with the intention of replacing Windows since 2015), I’ve only done it twice, and

        … and this can happen with Windows too, and building your own binaries for Windows is a lot more of a bother.

        Also, you might not have noticed, but even with Linux it’s typical to only provide binaries for amd64 and/or x86, and regular glibc runtime. Linux is a lot more than that and it’s just not feasible to provide binaries for all combinations. Some of the “niche” versions can be very significant in their market segments, too. (Even without counting Android)

        So, someone working to keep their old PowerPC-based desktop hardware (Mac, or IBM IntelliStation) running and updated might well have to build a whole lot of things from source. (Not likely to be cost-effective at any reasonable hourly accounting rate unless it’s been integrated to some other expensive things…)

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