Overclock.net › Articles › Common Misconceptions About GNU/Linux

Common Misconceptions About GNU/Linux

Starting with a thread asking Windows users why they don't use Linux, there would seem to be two main reasons- 1.Gaming and 2.Misinfo about GNU/Linux. This article is here to adress the misconceptions.

I don't have the time to try linux/ installing linux is too hard/ I don't know how to do xyz in the installer

You had the time to install Windows didn't you? Noob-friendly distros such as LMDE or Ubuntu take all of five minutes, a couple of clicks, and a few questions any first grader could anwser. Don't want to partition the disk? Then don't. Linux is all about choice, and chosing to let the installer decide is your choice and freedom.

I don't want to learn how to use the command line.

Then don't! Many distros have had frount ends for everything for years! But for the record, its easy. You want to install chromium (chrome)? In a Debian based distro, its as easy as sudo apt-get install chromium. No downloading files and running wizards. No complex compiling (though that is open to you if you want it, anything is) bang! One command and done. But if your really worried about it, fetch chrome/chromium from the software center, an easy to use, app-store like setup for all the software on Linux.

I need program x for x

Other then gaming, there is nothing windows has that GNU/Linux dosn't. And Netflix. Thats it. If there is, theres a replacment wanting for you.

My school/work uses Windows and I need to be compatable.

It is! Thats the beauty of open source. Firefox, thunderbird, openoffice, gimp- all these things are for Linux and help you remain compatable with the Windows computers around you.

I don't see the point/ Windows works fine

Dont see the point? This a community where we use chilled water to hit that 5GHz! Where no GPU is too expensive! GNU/Linux benchs much faster then windows, while being lighter on your disk and memory. for nothing else, Linux is %1000 free and always will be. No catch. Its open source. Just because you pay for Windows dosn't mean its better.

Maintaining GNU/Linux and keeping it stable is too difficult / impossible

GNU/Linux comes in many different flavors. Certain "bleeding-edge" distros, such as Arch and Gentoo, get updates as soon as possible... which often can result in issues. Other distros, such as RHEL and Debian, are rock stable. Then there's many other distros in between -- Ubuntu closer to the most stable, for example, and Fedora closer to the most bleeding edge distros. Like everything else in GNU/Linux, it's all up to your preference.

If anyway thinks of any other misinfo that needs adressing, PM me and I'll add you to the list.

Comments (22)

If Linux is compatible to what you use at school/work, why can't it run Autodesk Maya or Abobe CS6? And why does Skype barely work on it? It is so difficult to receive group calls on Skype 4.0 Linux.
I have very enthusiastically tried to get on the Linux band wagon on my home desktop. I have tried Redhat (when it was free), Ubuntu and Suse, all unsuccessfully.

1. software is buggy and of much lower quality than a Microsoft platform, all my Microsoft platform software works well. And games aren't supported which is a high proportion of my desktop use (w.i.n.e.? forget it)
2. you actually need to know the Linux OS and kernel and it's command line well before you can properly use Linux and any suggested help because you won't understand it. The GUI alone is more hassle than it's worth (see point 1.)
@Rexmors: why doesn't Windows run kdenlive or Cinerella? Your question misses the point. You can still use those Photoshop files in Linux (GIMP), compatibility doesn't mean it has to run the same programs as Windows does. And Skype is a somewhat exceptional example, is has never gotten much Penguin-love from its devs.

@ExtraSpicy: If you last used RHEL when it was free (ages ago?), it might be time to try it again. Linux moves at a much higher pace than Windows and even MacOS. If I look at what my desktop looked like two years ago, I feel like ten years have passed.
But Gimp isn't the program I'm using for school...
so what? switch at home. gimp is easy to use. @extraspickygeek games are a problem, but I can assure you that the overall quality of software is much better then windows, not worse.

agreeing with poster above redhat hasn't been free of cost in a long time. its best you try it again. try mint or ubuntu
also skype works fine for me
GIMP is a damn mess. Face it, some FOSS programs cannot compare to the paid versions.
Skype works so well, that I rarely find myself using Pidgin anymore.
@3930K I used to think that OpenOffice was a mess, too. Nothing was were it was supposed to be. But over time I understood the intention behind the UI, and now I find MS Office incomprehensible... And I face it, Linux doesn't dominate all areas. Windows is the largest platform, which means that it has the largest selection of software. Will some of these programs be better than comparable Linux versions? Maybe. But will you really need those features?

Writing this from the latest Linux Mint 13 KDE. It's awesome, customizable and modern-looking. You can like or not like the Way of the Penguin, but don't tell me, that software quality (as in stability) is better in Windows, that is unfounded non-sense. And as soon as Steam is released on Linux, it'll be completely worry-free
I loved linux the short amount of time I used it, the only issue I had was getting my sound card to work in the recording software bundled with the distro I chose.

Another thing I couldnt figure out is making wine work for games. If I could make all my games work in linux, and my wireless internet adaptor, I would switch in a heartbeat.
How do you think skype works well on linux? Have you even used the Windows version? I expect the the act same quality in linux version but only get half.
@Rexmors, what exactly do you have problems with? Group calls for me work flawlessly, and a lot of calls can easily last over 2+ hours with ease ( longest single call I've done in Linux is around ~4 hours ) wouldn't be able to tell you if it acts up past that though.

@3930k, GIMP is a great peice of software, and with the proper plugins can rival some of the earlier CS suites feature for feature. That's the great thing about GNU/Linux, never take anything for face value, you can make any program truly yours. Also, when you've used some piece of software so long like the CS suites, then you just grow so used to where everything is, that when you venture out to a new program, you get lost. Happens with plenty of the more specialty programs.

@Mattb2e, Have you tried using PlayOnLinux? makes Wine and getting games running really easy. Sounds cards are one of the biggest failures with Linux atm in my opinion. While the sound architectures are coming around, they're still not quite there. Alsa works for mostly all onboard chipsets with no problem, but starts failing on dedicated sound cards. And Pulse works on a lot of the dedicated sound cards, but introduces a ton of bugs, sound distortion, and equalizer problems with a bunch of cards. Wireless is pretty easy to set up, just need to know the chipset ( run lspci, to find out which it is ) and in most cases it's pretty easy to set up. But some wireless chipsets/companies are still slacking, not many but some.
@Rexmors "How do you think skype works well on linux?" - I'm just using it every day. Just like Shrak reports, it works fine for me, too. Yeah, it features less flashy emoticons than the Windows version, and the GUI is less shiny. And there are probably a few features in the Windows version that the Linux one lacks (Games? Not sure...). For what I'm using it for (skyping, chatting, SMS, calling landlines), it works fine. And yes, I've used the Windows version.

Anyway, this whole Skype thing has nothing to do with Linux, and everything with Microsoft. If they showed some more Penguin love, the Linux experience would be just as shiny.

Either way, this is not the granny support forum, this is a community of tinkerers and computer literate people. If you love to be able to control your operating system from A-Z (not saying you have to, just that you can if you want or need to), there is no way around BSD/GNU/Linux.
Did I mention the absence of viruses/need for a local firewall/cost for software or hassle of cracking it?
The biggest problem I have with Skype is group calls. A cannot enter a group call unless I'm there when the call starts and then sometimes I don't receive the call at all depending on who it is. If I leave the call, then I have to tell my friends to restart because I can't get in because there is no way I know of to get in.
I'm complaining about Skype here because he said linux is compatible to what you use at work/school. That is wrong because skype and many other programs don't get any penguin love so it is very difficult to use for work/school in my case.
I love Linux. I am so looking forward to Steam coming to Linux. But, lets be real, the games are going to be Valve games only at first and probably only one or two at first. They are going to trickle in. Hopefully other developers will follow and I think they will. But lets not get over excited and think one day soon we are going to be able to abandon windows because all our games will now work in Linux. Though I would love nothing more... It will take some time and I am sure there will be some game developers that will take their sweet time developing for Linux, if ever.

Modern distros can and do provide everything needed for general computing and more, and do it as good or better than windows, but I think there are some instances that windows is needed. Or at least those that use certain programs need it because if for nothing else they have invested tons of time learning and customizing Adobe and they don't want/can't reinvest in relearning everything in another application in a different environment. If they were to do so I think they will find it well worth the time, but you will be hard pressed to get many or most to do it.

As for business, Open Office and Libre, two that I have used, are not fully compatible with MS Office. They work great in and of themselves, but they often have formatting issues with MS documents or can choke completely and fail to open more complex spreadsheets. Usually they work fine, but I do occasionally run into these issues.

That all being said Linux is a great OS and I can't wait for the day I can fully abandon windows. But that day has not yet come.
personally I found that both skype and libreoffice work fine. I only have the rare font issue in libreoffice that is fixed in a second at school when I have to use a windows machine (most of the time they let me run a linux live disk) gimp is in my opinion much better then photoshop, but I guess thats a matter of opinion. and yes, i've used the windows/paid versions of all.
wouldn't it be cool if there's a Valinux? Or Steamix? Ok, crappy naming aside, what if there's a Linux Distro built with Steam in mind? Granted it won't happen overnight with much of PC gaming on Directx and all, but it would be all awesome!
Here is my opinion of why it doesn't work. When you go to any pc / electronics store and you buy a new pc gadget , it comes with a disc that has the software needed to make it work. Sometimes the disc has an Mac logo on it. Sometimes there is a Windows logo on it. Sometimes both logos are on it. But you know what is not on the disc, a Linux logo.

I can almost bet you money that if you went and bought a shiny new graphics card, printer, whatever and the disc had a fedora logo or an ubuntu logo on it, the linux market share would increase exponentially. The masses like 'easy'. They don't want to do product research before making a purchase. And whys should they in today's world of instant gratification ?

As good as a lot of people think Apple is, there are some products that will not natively run in OS whatever number you can think of .what is it OSX volume 32. revision 94 or something like that ? And why is that , because OSX is derived from FREE open source software with shiny GUI.

all joking aside, I really feel as though you get what you pay for and linux is free. Netflix wont run on it without an emulator because of the encryption. Linux is free in every meaning of the word, with exception of enterprise. The whole netflix thing is wierd to me because it runs on android which is also unix based, but that topic is for another thread. so windows users pay for ease of use. they pay for it with money, system heavy anti virus software, and in various other ways.

I personally use a dual boot system. Linux (Mint on one machine , ubuntu 12 on other) and then Win 7 so that I can game, Netflix, and my daughter's iTunes will run on. If I could game without an emulator and watch Netflix natively inside Linux, I would have no use for windows.

So , no I don't hate windows. It is useful for some things. For other things, I can use linux to do and it usually does it while consuming fewer resources than its windows counter part.
Whenever I have a problem of any kind in GNU/Linux, I almost always later find out that it's my fault. Skype, LibreOffice, and the like work fine for me. GIMP might not exactly be on par with CS6 but at least it doesn't cost $700 or whatever. AMD drivers do need work but they're getting better.

jasin39: Most noob-friendly distros like Ubuntu will automatically recognize a lot of hardware. If not the driver is usually very easy to find and install in the software center or whatever. If you're running Gentoo and can't get your printer working then you probably shouldn't be running Gentoo

Game compatibility is coming. I don't use Netflix but that does seem like a stupid problem.
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