A long rant. Read on only if not likely to be offended by dislike of
Unix like systems, and their inherent baggage.
The Help system - or lack thereof
No unified indices or serious attempts at them,
command -? or command --help sometimes works, sometimes not.
man command - apropos command
There is nothing less comprehensible than a man page. There is nothing
worse than a man page (last changed 1992 - see info page for details)
The perl documentation is bad enough that thrid party documentation is
needed to learn to use perl - in a reasonable timescale, at any rate.
info - an abomination of a hypertext broswer
.txt files - some times you get them, sometimes not.
html help - best of the bunch, but still isolated from the rest of
the help system.
quite often, nothing.
Unix cloned tool sets. Yes, some of them are useful, but the original
Unix philsophy has been lost. It is no longer one tool, one task. GNU
tar will both archive and compress - recent versions will use bzip2 as
well as gzip etc. The command switches are haphazardly assigned, so
go to relevant man page (if it exists)
Unix was designed for use on slow character terminals, which had mono
displays. Few console apps can do colour, and enableing those that do
is not simple.
The X Windows System. Too horrible to die, too vital to be replaced,
and too large to be redesigned.
Almost any worthwhile end user tool for linux uses the X Windows
System for its display. Its a shame that X on Linux is a mess unless
you pay ( when you are then liable for a mess with a reciept)
Some applications are hardcoded for one colour depth ie 8bpp and die
on higher depths. Some are so colour intensive they take the entire
colour set when running, and pallette clash when more than one app is
running. You can't change color depth on the fly. Your X server will
be a bloated user level process, since it includes code for the
thousand almost, but not quite, compatible video adapters. Its
performance will suck, and beware that your hardware is supported in
only some resoloutions and depths, while recent hardware requires new
anf buggy drivers, and no one works on old drivers since no one wants
that hardware anymore.
Intelligently guessing setup tools for X can and do guess wrong. Who
would have thought that some S3 models use S3server and some
SVGAserver? Who would have thought a monitor setup would not provide
defaults for common setups (SVGA - ie 800x600) VGA(640x480) etc.
Font handling. Prehistoric. Toolkits - many, but all different, in
programming API, look and feel, and configuration method. Consistency?
Not achieveable, ever, imho.
Lack of basic standards.
The only things that a Linux distribution has in common with another
Linux distribution is that the kernel will be approximately the same
version. All else is optional.
Some boot from CD, some not. Some offer netbased or diskbased instal.
Some auto detect hardware - some not. Some offer install programs
with help - some not. Some have fdisk frontends etc...
There is no Universal linux install application. There, imho, should
be. A curses based menu system to put the most basic linux system
into the machine ie kernel, some utils and shell, so we can say to
newbies pick the menu option for foo from bar menu. After that, the
package manager would handle package installs ( whatever package
manager - rpm, deb or tgz) from whatever source (at least CD, five
million floppies, nfs, ftp, and DOS / companion OS filesystem).
The install program would then allow editing etc of config files plus
some help files access while doing so. Where the config files would
go would be that distros own choice - so long as they can be found.
Installing applications on one linux system may be fine - on another,
not. packages for Deb 2.1 will give grief installed on 2.0 - Redhats
RPMS are in no way likely to work seamlessly with suse or caldera.
Assumptions made about users of the system.
You will be made sysadmin. It will be assumed you are wanting 24/7
operation, permanent net connection and more servers than you can
shake a stick at, and that you are experienced in the use of a) Unix
b)Dos c)a and b.
It is not yet as easy to install non server linux systems as it could
The software available for it.
How many Window managers? How many icq/ irc clients? How many mod
players , mp3 front ends and cd players can a system want? How many
games of solitaire can you play?
Fill the gaps in the range of linux software, not merely iterate
through a set of new UI's for the same old programs.
Still no DTP program free.
The hardware support.
Not bad, not great. Lacking for USB, DVD, video adapters, sound
cards, and those supported are not usually very well supported. With
the exception of Networking, where Linux is usually deployed.
The user community ( some of it - The Taliban)
They don't want new users. They don't want disagreements with their
viewpoints, nor commercial adaptation of Linux. They want freedom
before usability. They want yoursoftware under their license, or not
at all. Close is not good enough.
Makes you feel really welcome, doesn't it.
Rapid pace of change.
The user is the last to know, and the first to suffer. Binary
incompatible changes in core libraries can bite a lot of users.
The lack of universal configuration.
Edit 1000 different files in a 100 different formats with the
unfriendly texteditor of your choice (vi - ughhh, but better than