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Discussion on: Why is Linux Not More Popular on the Desktop?

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Ryan Smith • Edited

As a developer and someone who doesn't mind tinkering, it became a bit too overwhelming. I wanted to use Linux for development and did not want to go too far into customizing, but using Linux always caused more frustration than joy.

In my opinion, there too much configuration for not a lot of benefit. There was always something I did not like on the distros I tried. I could change it, but that required a fair amount of searching and then copying and pasting things I did not fully understand. It was always something minor that may not bother others but bothered me a lot. Things such as middle click to paste, the number of lines to scroll with the mouse wheel, mouse sensitivity/acceleration, changing the boot menu timeout, sound not defaulting to the front headphone jack, etc. There was not always a GUI option and editing files was hit or miss. It led to frustration when solutions online didn't work. Running updates to stable releases of programs or distros would often leave things in a broken state. Trying to get issues solved was a timesink that killed productivity.

For me, I think visual polish is another reason. Some users are functionality over looks, but I tend to like nice looking interfaces. There are some distros that look pretty good, but they always retain that "Linux look" that is hard to really put into words. I think it has to do with the fonts used and the font smoothing, but it just makes it feel dated. This is definitely a superficial opinion, but looking at Apple's popularity I think there is more of a demand for good-looking stuff.

I've settled on Windows 10 and Windows Subsystem Linux. I'm used to the Windows environment and WSL gives me what I need from Linux command line tools. I still have Ubuntu installed, but rarely reach for it. I think Linux is still very much for enthusiasts that are more into the open source movement.