A matter of choice


I’ve recently spotted an article  talking about yet another “10 problems” about Linux. I usually start reading these articles with a big sigh.

First of all, finding “10 Linux problems”, as an operating system, is really odd, as Linux is not an operating system in itself. I sometimes hear people saying, for example, “Linux is unusable”. To that question I usually respond “Which distribution are you talking about?”.

When I see articles mentioning that choosing a distribution is a problem, I can’t find how is this problem related to the operating system or Linux whatsoever – it is indeed more simple to have a “one size fits all” solution (there are distros for that), but in no way having choices should be a problem. After all, in each product we use, we choose the one that best fits our need. Why should it be any different when it comes to the operating system?

I’ve been using Gentoo for about 2 years now and it perfectly fits my needs. In my opinion, it’s one of the best Linux distributions out there for the one who wants a custom-made OS. But not everybody wants that – and it’s perfectly fine. That’s why distributions exist! And if you cannot find what you like, well, there’s always FreeBSD, Window, Mac OS… If having to choose between multiple GNU/Linux distributions is a problem, well, I don’t know what to say. Let the manufacturers decide for us then! After all, they know what’s best for the consumer, right? Moving on!

I’ll skip all the “no [game, software, hardware] support” thing here – is the OS really to blame? I don’t think it is – not entirely, at least. There are many factors which must be taken into account, enough to make a whole post about it. I summarized my view of the situation in a little comic picture, though. I’ve posted it once on a forum, it led to a rather big discussion.

A diagram of the 'GNU/Linux circle of hell'

Linux distros are not perfect – there is not a single OS that is. You might be a Linux user, Mac OS user, Windows user, Unix user, whatever! The important thing is that you have what works best for you. For that, you need choice.  If you find Windows X to be better than X Linux distro, I’ll most probably disagree with you. But I’m not going to be the one to tell you what you like and you don’t.