My Biggest Gripe with Linux

I love Linux and I appreciate Free and Open Source Software.

I just wanted to get that out of the way. Infact, in the near future I might even teach a couple of classes about some simple commands and command line Fundamentals in my college. I really want Linux and the Libre culture of sharing and growing together to spread as far as feasible.

I always prefer Linux to Microsoft Windows on my personal laptop – the power of the command line, the simple but logical system, the fast forever reality (compared to hanging and random network or disk spikes in Windows – I mean, WTF is that?), the beautifully designed applications. There are a couple of idiosyncrasies of Linux as well, but far far fewer than Microsoft Windows. 

But there is one thing about Linux that will, despite my best efforts, made me remove it and install Windows in its place. 

Drivers.

It’s not Linux’s fault per se. I totally get that. It’s kind of a chicken and egg problem – less users on Linux means less attention to drivers and the vice versa.

Couple of years ago, this problem plagued widespread Linux adoption like anything. The drivers for most consumer hardware were pathetic and far behind the minute optimizations done for Windows. This problem has vastly improved in recent years and you can find many computers with Linux preinstalled and a guarantee that it will work perfectly fine.

However, that has, unfortunately, not been the case with my hardware.

I was given my laptop as a gift from my father. It is a great device, more than I could ask. But this also meant that I did not have a choice in deciding the laptop. As a general consumer, he did not care about Linux or the like, he just bought a laptop that would be fine for his son in college and I appreciate that. But, that also meant that the hardware was not purely Linux compatible.

During the initial days, running Linux was an absolute pain. There were no drivers for WiFi or Graphics (the WiFi is an Intel Centrino N2230 and the discrete graphics is AMD Raedon HD 8730M) and the fan would be running constantly. 

Over 2 years there has been some support for these hardware. But the problem is that the fan is still running at full speed, and while working on a critical project, the WiFi dropped. Rebooting twice, looking up Google and nothing seems to be working. In the end, I had to resort to a friends laptop for doing stuff. Luckily, I had saved backups on Mega (www.mega.nz).

This was the last straw. This was what broke my trust on stability with Linux on my computer. Ofcourse, all of this is happening with the fan running at full speed (I suspect due to the Discrete graphics card and the shitty Radeon open source driver – with radeon.modeset=0 in the grub config (I have tried dozens of other solutions and configurations, nothing have worked so far)).

So, here I am – installing Windows on my machine. Sad definitely. But I won’t stop learning Linux. The first thing install (after the drivers) is going to be Virtualbox and then Debian and Xubuntu – because I won’t stop experimenting and learning Linux. And then Libreoffice and other Free/Open Source Software. I am also saving up money to but my own laptop – this time making sure that Linux compatibility will be given utmost priority and I can get back to Linux again.

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