I'm quite a newbie on Linux and so far I must admit that I'm a little (actually quite a lot) disappointed so I was wondering if someone could give me solid reasons why Linux is quite often said to be superior to other desktop operating systems.
In order to get some response I'll share some thoughts of what I've experienced good and bad in Linux as agitators..
(btw. I'm using a default RedHat 9 distribution on my desktop with KDE and and not so default RH9 on my laptop with Gnome)
Here are some pros and cons I've seen and the main point is that I want to think of computers as tools - something you use to get things done, not something you use for the usage itself. (Except for games). So I typically use computers for computing (isn't this what they were supposed to do?), coding (for work or to create programs that solve larger mathematical problems), typing documents etc.
1) Linux is slow - sometimes even slower than Windows XP and I think it's quite weak. Surely one can make it faster by doing tons of reconfigurations, but my schedule won't allow the time I assume it takes (a couple of days since I'm a newbie on Linux)
2) Linux (I've heard) is highly configurable, but I've found it quite hard and I don't have the time to get into it as I mentioned. One time I tried to configure my kernel (using the section kernel tuning in KDE's controls), I compiled it and it worked perfectly except that in GRUB it wouldn't take command line parameters the same way that my older kernel did and therefore I was unable to mount all my hard drives..
(this took me a whole night and I'm not doing it again)
3) Linux is stable. But as before a but comes in to ruin the day: My Windows XP is stable enough - I can keep it running approximately 2 weeks at a time and due to the fact that I've learned the basic rule of "save often, save now" using Windows OS:s for some time, it does not bother me that from time to time Windows crashes - so the real value of this feature is in servers.
4) An example of frustrating OS behavior in Linux:
In my laptop I have an USB floppy drive, which I sometimes use to transfer small amounts of data (since I don't have an Ethernet card installed on my desktop).
One time I took out the disk without dismounting it first and the next time I tried to mount the floppy disk Linux was in trouble - it could not locate the trash bin on the floppy and it used about an hour before it gave up and I could use the floppy again. (Of course I assumed before this that the process had crashed since it had taken like fifteen minutes without any indication of activity and I tried practically everything (including like a hundred of reboots) to get the drive working and I got it working by an accident (ie. when I got totally bored of trying, I just left the computer to do whatever it was doing and watched a flick - when I came back it was ok
)) So in order to get a floppy working, I spent approximately four hours in agony - I refused to believe that in this day an age a modern operating system that had good recommendations could not mount a floppy drive - something that even the first version of DOS could do in seconds.
5) Linux is free - ok this is a nice one, since the MS-monopoly sucks.
6) There are very few (if none) viruses for Linux and Linux (presumably) is well protected - also nice.
7) Some Linux apps have nice interfaces. I like the fact that I can use the keyboard too once in a while and what especially bugs me in Windows is that the usage is practically entirely waving the mouse around.
So these were some of my thoughts and the conclusion is that although Linux is quite good, it's not something I'd praise - for me (or my use-cases) it is almost as bad as Windows and that's not much. And since I have better applications for Windows (that I do not want to buy again (they cost more than 2k dollars)), I'll mainly use Windows from now own unless someone can give me pointers on how to make my Linux much more usable (preferably with less than a days work). Does a good OS exist or am I just asking too much?
A colleague of mine (who knows quite a lot of computers) once said that "Linux is the Windows of UNIXes"
I've also heard a counter-quote that "Linux is not for those people that have the text 0:00 blinking on their VCRs", so maybe Linux is not the right choice for me since I don't see the value in changing the time of my VCR if it takes an hour to do and I do own a wrist watch..