this post was submitted on 02 Jun 2024
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Linux

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Linux is a family of open source Unix-like operating systems based on the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released on September 17, 1991 by Linus Torvalds. Linux is typically packaged in a Linux distribution (or distro for short).

Distributions include the Linux kernel and supporting system software and libraries, many of which are provided by the GNU Project. Many Linux distributions use the word "Linux" in their name, but the Free Software Foundation uses the name GNU/Linux to emphasize the importance of GNU software, causing some controversy.

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[–] [email protected] 89 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago) (4 children)

One Common Linux Myth You Should Stop Believing: there's a FOSS alternative to every single proprietary software out there that can be used as a replacement in all and every use case.

[–] [email protected] 26 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago) (2 children)

I mean a lot of them are ok but it depends on what you are doing. Gimp can make memes but if you learned Adobe you are going to struggle.

I think half of it is people doing want to learn something new and half of it is that the tools are behind

[–] [email protected] 14 points 1 month ago (6 children)

Gimp can make memes

Yeah but if you're a graphic designers and you've to share PSD files with others for your job then you're going to have a very hard time with Gimp.

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[–] [email protected] 7 points 1 month ago

More like: GIMP can do much of what PS can do, but you'll tear out your hair trying to, cause it's so unintuitive and slower.

[–] [email protected] 14 points 1 month ago

More generally - stop expecting every program to have an alternative. Sometimes there's just the one thing that does what you want.

I lost functionality when I moved from Ubuntu to Windows 7 circa 2010, and I lost functionality when I moved from Windows 7 to Mint circa 2020.

[–] [email protected] 7 points 1 month ago

Agreed, but sometimes a compromise for a not as good alternative is sufficient depending on the task.

[–] [email protected] 5 points 1 month ago (1 children)

I don't think that myth exists. If you thought that before trying Linux, where did you get that idea?

[–] [email protected] 6 points 1 month ago

I don’t, but a lot of people around here do… and get really offended when you point it out.

[–] [email protected] 60 points 1 month ago (3 children)

A lot of people see articles showing how to do something and it uses the terminal and they think that's the only way to do it. In reality, it's just easier to say "copy and paste these commands" than it is to walk someone through how to do it in a GUI.

[–] [email protected] 41 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago)

Furthermore, a CLI instruction is DE-agnostic. So you don't need to cover the same topic with explanations for at least 3/4 desktop environments. GUI instructions also change a lot faster than their CLI counterparts; so by providing the commands one provides the method with the best longevity. Overall, it's just so much more efficient.

[–] [email protected] 7 points 1 month ago (1 children)

Exactly, I switched to Linux mint a year ago and I've used the terminal like... twice lol.

[–] [email protected] 7 points 1 month ago

I'm glad you're happy with Linux. Sometimes I find it hard to believe that things have progressed that far. I'm stuck with the feeling that gui settings and such aren't reliable, because they didn't used to be. Moreso, I just know how to do things in the terminal because that's how I've done them for decades.

But you do you. Its great to have options.

[–] [email protected] 6 points 1 month ago

Yeah, a single sudo mv command can easily be several steps in a GUI, possibly error prone too. Because if you do it in the GUI you have to navigate all the way to where the source file is, cut it, navigate to where it needs to go, paste it there. Or you can paste the command in a terminal, done in 0.1 seconds.

If I want some information from someone, I can cook a big oneliner to copy paste that will give me exactly the information I want instead of needing a dozen screenshots all coming from different places and programs.

As long as you can trust the person feeding you the commands, I can get just about anything working on your computer effortlessly.

[–] [email protected] 49 points 1 month ago (15 children)

Two things. Linux certainly does have a difficult learning curve, at least compared to Windows and OSX. I’m currently in Fedora 39 and I had to dig up some terminal commands off the internet just so I wasn’t choosing between 100% and 200% scaling. That’s just beyond the average computer user.

Secondly, I wish people could stop trying to teach everyone that Linux isn’t the OS. Anyone that cares already knows, and anyone that doesn’t know doesn’t care.

[–] [email protected] 18 points 1 month ago (3 children)

Maybe it's changing now with Windows 10/11, but I think historically Windows has had just as difficult learning curve as Linux. People who have complained about Linux being more difficult than Windows just thought so because they had already spent years learning how to deal with Windows, while if they switched to Linux they would have to learn new things. If someone who has used MacOS 100% of their life were to begin using either Windows or Linux then I don't think there would be much difference in difficulty.

I've come across plenty of bugs and usability issues in Windows, and despite having 10+ years experience with the OS I sometimes found them very difficult to solve, often requiring copy-pasting cryptic texts into the command prompt and/or regedit. I also think troubleshooting on Windows is made worse thanks to them writing witty things like "oops, something went wrong!" instead of actually giving you a useful error message, some many issues are of course unfixable due to its proprietary nature. At best you get an error code which you can look up online, but the OS is not made to be debugged by the user.

In the past Microsoft had really good support which you chat with, but the last time Windows refused to authenticate after an upgrade all the human support appears to have been replaced by automated troubleshooters. It got stuck in an endless loop of "run local troubleshooter" -> "you should try rebooting" -> "run online troubleshooter" -> "you should try rebooting" -> "back to the local troubleshooter again". At work I still have a help-desk I can call with people who have taken countless hours of Microsoft trainings to get certifications.

just so I wasn’t choosing between 100% and 200% scaling. That’s just beyond the average computer user.

So if I understood you right, Fedora lets you choose either 100% or 200% scaling but you wanted more options than that? I.e. you wanted to overcome a limitation of the OS, rather than having to fix something which was broken? I don't think the average computer user could do something similar in Windows. For example when I got my work computer with Windows 11, AFAIK there was no option to only show the task bar on one monitor, so it was always visible and taking space on all monitors. IIRC Microsoft added this feature last year, but I think it would've been extremely difficult for the average user to find a way to find a way to do it before that.

Guesstimating 99% of the Windows users I know would just accept that kind of thing like "it's annoying, but this is how computers are". I have friends, family members and coworkers who use Windows, and I've found them all to be extremely forgiving towards computer issues.

[–] [email protected] 7 points 1 month ago

While I agree that most of perception that linux is harder than windows comes from the fact what most people already invested they time into learning windows and not linux, there are certain difficulties users have to face then transitioning.

Linux is not uniform platform, and thus solutions to problems might depend on user enviroment. Average user want to have UI solution. But then searching it up they likely to not specify graphical environment or even distro, and thus they will likely mostly see terminal based solutions, mixed with UI solutions some of which will not work out of the box, because they assume KDE environment, while user has gnome.

This is a necessary trade-of for being able to provide extremely customizable system, as opposed to providing lowest common denominator system, but having docs for common tasks that easy to follow.

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[–] [email protected] 11 points 1 month ago

I wish people could stop trying to teach everyone that Linux isn’t the OS

Over my dead body!

[–] [email protected] 5 points 1 month ago (1 children)

Noob here. What do you mean Linux isn't the OS?

[–] [email protected] 8 points 1 month ago (3 children)

THANK YOU FOR ASKING, NO IT'S NOT.

I know the name 'Linux' is used to identify a family of OSs, but in reality it is actually only the kernel (the part of the system that allows hardware and software to communicate)

[–] [email protected] 4 points 1 month ago (2 children)

Would this be what people are getting at when they say "Gnu/Linux"? Or is it closer to saying "Linux Mint" or something?

[–] [email protected] 4 points 1 month ago

This is exactly what people mean when they say GNU/Linux. They are trying to say that it is “the GNU Operating Syatem” with the Linux kernel.

This nonesense though. Please ignore them.

Linux Mint is an operating system. It uses the Linux kernel. The fact that it includes a handful of GNU packages in no way justifies co-opting the branding. Linux Mint includes A LOT of software from many sources. Are you going to try to list them all in the name?

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[–] [email protected] 4 points 1 month ago (1 children)

Secondly, I wish people could stop trying to teach everyone that Linux isn’t the OS. Anyone that cares already knows, and anyone that doesn’t know doesn’t care.

Ironically, the people who need to hear this don't care.

It's 100% stallman trying to coat-tails Linus.

What I've learned in 30 years of using Linux is the gnu/Linux distinction only matters to the kind of whacko I can't work with. It's a great mineshaft canary to let me know whom not to invest any time in.

[–] [email protected] 4 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago)

Linus wrote a kernel, and GNU wrote the majority of the userspace at the time.

How is that coat-tails-ing? Both projects had a tremendous amount of effort poured into them. And let's not forget GCC was the only free compiler for 20 years.

If people were asking for it to be called "GNU" only, then it'd be unfair. But they aren't.

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[–] [email protected] 30 points 1 month ago (1 children)

The article perpetuates another myth:

And of course, you have dedicated software stores in many Linux distributions.

Repositories are not "stores!" Repositories maximize convenience of discovering and installing Free Software, while "stores" exist to extract money from chumps for enshittified, proprietary crap. There's a huge fucking difference.

[–] [email protected] 9 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago) (2 children)

Some GUI package applications use the store metaphor. Pop! OS uses Pop Shop currently and will use COSMIC Store in 24.04 without transactions being involved.

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[–] [email protected] 26 points 1 month ago (4 children)

Linux Is Only Free if You Don’t Value Your Time

This one is my favorite.

My co-workers SSD failed, and he was out most of the day. My SSD failed, and I was back up and running in about 10 minutes.

[–] [email protected] 11 points 1 month ago (1 children)

After several years of using Linux for work and school, I made the leap to daily driving linux on my personal computer. I stuck with it for two years. Hundreds of hours I sunk into an endless stream of inane troubleshooting. Linux preys on my desire to fix stuff and my insane belief that just one more change, suggested by just one more obscure forum post will fix the issue.

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[–] [email protected] 8 points 1 month ago

If the user sees the following

Linux Is Only Free if You Don’t Value Your Time

one must immediately counter with

Windows Is Only Free if You Don't Value Your Privacy

The Windows user will immediately disintegrate if performed optimally

[–] [email protected] 4 points 1 month ago

The cynic in me says maybe your coworker was just taking their time

[–] [email protected] 4 points 1 month ago (4 children)

How were you able to do this?

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[–] [email protected] 15 points 1 month ago

"I don't value my time. I value my braincells."

-- Me, every time someone says the "...value your time" argument.

[–] [email protected] 15 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago) (4 children)

The article’s “valuing your time” argument is problematic in certain contexts. My brother has had so much trouble with his dual-boot (Windows and Linux). Yes, he could learn how to solve something in Linux every time a problem arises, but he also has to deliver his projects on time. Because of that, he mostly spends time on his Windows dual boot. Yeah, it sucks ethically and has its own pragmatic issues, but he has never had issues resolving dependencies or hunting down the most recent version that can actually be run in NixOS.

I don’t doubt these will become issues that will not be as problematic in the future, but right now my brother cannot use Linux reliably for his assignments.

Edit: My brother has tried what I use: Fedora and NixOS. He has also tried PopOS.

In Fedora, he found some of his software didn’t exist as .deb, and struggled to make .tar files work smoothly for him.

He tried NixOS afterward. He really liked the whole immutability thing, as well as the idea that apps would have their own dependencies.

His dependency problem happened in PopOS. If I remember correctly, it was a code editor that required a version of something that was different to what a package he used in his software was.

I think the order he tried was Fedora -> NixOS -> PopOS -> NixOS -> ? (Haven’t talked to him about it recently)

[–] [email protected] 18 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago) (1 children)

I would argue that NixOS absolutely is the OS you get if your time is worthless, but not every distro is the same. I'd argue that if you need something that doesn't have so many issues a stabler or easier to use distro (Debian, Ubuntu, Pop!_OS, Linux Mint, and even Fedora or openSUSE) is going to be a better option than trying to bend specifically NixOS to do what you want.

I personally use a mix of Pop, Debian, and Fedora, not because they're particularly powerful, but because they tend to be more straightforward for what I want to do than NixOS, Gentoo, or Arch. I don't mind tinkering, but for my main machines I don't want to tinker much.

Edit: I should clarify that there are plenty of reasonable uses of Windows and I don't fault anyone for using it especially if their familiarity is keeping them from understanding Linux as well as they want to. But I also would make the case that there are a lot of distros out there.

[–] [email protected] 3 points 1 month ago (5 children)

I would argue that NixOS absolutely is the OS you get if your time is worthless

Hard disagree. Does it require you to climb through heaps of trash documentation? Absolutely. But, if you persevere, you got yourself a rock solid system that will even make Debian Stable jealous; all while requiring no maintenance.


  1. Better documentation has been made available since relatively recently.
[–] [email protected] 4 points 1 month ago (1 children)

I'd argue Fedora Atomic does the job with even less fuss for a larger number of people. NixOS is great if you want/need to tinker, but Fedora Atomic is just giddy up and go as long as you don't require any specialized programs or drivers.

I say this as someone who currently uses NixOS on both of my computers.

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[–] [email protected] 10 points 1 month ago

Why does your brother use NixOS in the first place?

Don't get me wrong; I think NixOS is a very interesting project with a very bright future. It probably wouldn't be an exaggeration if I said that NixOS has single-handedly inspired the current immutable revolution. However, it's also a distro that wants you to learn and digest its ways before it will return the favor.

But, based on my reading/understanding of your comment, your brother doesn't strike me as a seasoned Linux user. Am I right? Btw, NixOS is hard unbeknownst of how many experiences you got with other distros. However, I would simply never recommend a new user to use (Gentoo, Guix System or) NixOS. There are definitely outliers, but they would have to find it themselves then.

[–] [email protected] 10 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago)

I have used a lot of different distros and I never had dependency problems whether on Linux mint, Debian, open suse or fedora. And yes, this can be a problem, especially on distros like Manjaro, but you still can use flatpaks/appimages/snaps and don’t deal with dependencies at all. NixOS and all rolling release distros can be great but they are not meant for people who are not ready to troubleshoot their system at any time. If you stick with a more stable distro like Debian you will most likely get a more reliable system then with windows.

[–] [email protected] 8 points 1 month ago

i dunno ubuntu has been plug and play for my work, and it gets much less in my way.

[–] [email protected] 11 points 1 month ago

I just recently switched to mint, and so far it's been great. I will say though, I find it pretty ridiculous how many hoops I had to jump through just to get my second drive to mount on boot and for programs to maintain write permissions to it. Which is a situation that a lot of non tech savvy will deal with when switching, especially gamers.

[–] [email protected] 7 points 1 month ago (1 children)

A garbage to run ads again. Everyone already knows the myths and they don't need the same post to pop up every year.

[–] [email protected] 3 points 1 month ago

HowtoGeek used to be a legitimately good site back in the day but now has a proliferation of low quality articles. Also, uBlock Origin by default blocks it's links sometimes since they redirect via awstrack.me as well.

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