10 Reasons Why Desktop Linux Isn’t Mainstream – For The Record


10 Reasons Why Desktop Linux Isn’t Mainstream. Yeah, the title is totally link-bait. However, it’s worth noting that I actually deliver what the title describes and then some. Linux is awesome, but sadly, most people haven’t heard of it. Here’s why.

+Support the Show – https://www.patreon.com/freedompenguin

1) Brick and Mortar availability (https://www.bestbuy.com/site/ubuntu-linux-linux/8888563.p?skuId=8888563)

2) Legacy software expectation (MS Office, Autocad, Adobe, industry specific app here)

3) Gaming (PC gaming)

4) Local support ecosystem (who is my tech person)

5) Industry labeling for hardware compatibility (Best with ____ OS)

6) Wild card hardware issues – (audio, video, networking)

7) User experience familiarity (Weird UI, searching for software isn’t recommended)

8) No one company to yell at when something goes wrong.

9) Too much choice in desktops, distros and other elements of the desktop.

10) Old, dated belief systems about Linux.


40 thoughts on “10 Reasons Why Desktop Linux Isn’t Mainstream – For The Record

  1. I really like your honesty I think there is a lot of issues that typical person doesn't want to deal with. On the other hand I think Linux can help many people. It is great for people that have older hardware and it has so many affordable or free programs. I don't know if I will ever be a full time Linux user but I think it is great option. I think most of my apprehension is based on fear that programs or hardware won't work and that I can lose my Windows OS forever and I won't be able to reboot my computer. Partly this is because Microsoft has stated my license isn't valid even though I upgraded from Windows 7 and it made my MS Office 2010 not work anymore. I became more interested Linux after downloading LibreOffice. So far I have downloaded Virtualbox and Linux Mint but haven't used it. I'm trying to figure out how to open pictures and documents that I have saved on Windows. I'm not sure have to put them on flash drive or send them to yourself . Currently I'm using a Lenovo ThinkPad W530 after having my Mac die. I really like the computer but I'm not a fan of Windows.

  2. Chrome OS and Android are by far the most popular Linux distributions and they both are less accessible than Windows. Android is far more popular than Windows.

  3. There are very valid reasons why Linux Desktop has an insignificant market share. On the server side Linux rules, with good reason. The desktop for the average user is as bad as the server is great. For me anyways the Linux Desktop is far too painful, and spend most of my time trying to find work-arounds where everything should just work.

  4. I don't recall what year, but I purchased a copy of mandrake 8 in the early 2000's at a local electronic store for $50. It was my first experience with Desktop linux. At the time, it felt years behind Windows 98.

    I didn't stick with it at the time, and kept with Windows until 2005. Then I ran linux for about seven years, and then switched to Windows 7 in 2012. I upgraded to Windows 10, and then in 2016 came back to Linux.

    Over that time frame I can say that linux has improved far more than Windows. The best part of it is the same thing I love about my android phone over iPhone. you can make it look and run exactly the way you want. I've currently got my KDE desktop to function like a hybrid of Unity and MacOS.

  5. I'm totally fine with Linux-Desktop-Derivates not being as popular, since I don't want all the big name Software-Providers to capitalize on applications they would port to the kernel.

    And no, theres no reason to capitalize on Software to provide a professional and user-friendly experience, best example is Blender.

    So if you're into AAA-Gaming, (Music Production, Video Editing*) and Game Development, stay on Windows (*or use a Mac.)

  6. i had tried ubuntu before but never used it and when i switched to linux i didnt want ubuntu but i had only ever heard of to distros so the the first ever distro that was on my pc was arch people kept telling me it wasnt worth it but i guess i was just so done with windows i didnt care what i had to do i use manjaro now because i got a new pc and didnt feel like the install of arch i love it and will never switch

  7. Santa: What would you like for Christmas, little girl?
    Little Girl: I'd like a dragon, please Santa.
    Santa: That's not very realistic. Is there anything else you'd like?
    Little Girl: I'd like for this year to be the year of the Linux desktop.
    Santa: What colour would you like your dragon?

  8. In my opinion it failed because of the TERMINAL. In Windows, MacOS or Android you can run your mashine in ages without ever knowing where or if your system has a terminal or something near a terminal. Everything is graphic, fantastic, done by some klicks with your mouse. On the other hand Linux: every single Linux user starts to tell you how wonderfull it is to write in "old klingon dialect" in the most sacred TERMINAL. The books for Windows, MacOS or Android show you how to start immediatly and have fun with the system! Many things are selfexplanatories! Linux: you must first study big 1000 pages books where almost 950 pages of it are about the TERMINAL. People, even on the C64 you needed more or less only LOAD"*",8,1 and RUN and this was some 35 years ago. In the meantime the MOUSE and the GUI were invented. By the way I'm using myself Linux and have fun to experiment with different distros over time. Mint, Solus, sometimes even Peppermint and other more. If ever Linux wanted to come out the deep jungle of a server room, it would have changed the marketing to graphic use, graphic solutions and graphic firsts and the TERMINAL only on the footnote.
    And by the way Windows 8.x failed on the Android-like use of the "Start"-button. Even the half-step-back of the Windows 10 didn't fully convinced the Windows users. Hope my english is understandable enough as I'm not an english native (Germany).

  9. Well said Matt. you sum things up succinctly. I've been using Linux as a desktop OS since around Mandrake 7 days. I've been through dozens of distros. You're right it's not that hard if you are someone who is interested enough to take the trouble to learn something new. Most Windows users can't or won't for reasons you pointed out. I don't bother trying to convert anyone to Linux anymore unless they are really interested. Those that I have moved from Windows 10 who are average computer users thought they died and went to heaven after trying to use windows 10. Personally I do keep Windows 7 (I refuse to subject myself to Windows 10) on a separate drive for a small number of things I need it for, but 95 % of the time it's either Manjaro, PCLinux, or Linux Mint.
    thanks for putting it together so well

  10. I think you are spot on here. Let's face it, 90 percent of computer users are technotards. They use the OS that came installed on the computer they bought at their local big box store. If you ask them what OS they are using, they look at you like you just spoke to them in Martian. Ask most people what browser they use and they will tell you they don't have one.
    The majority are hopelessly illiterate where computers are concerned and have never changed the configuration on their computer, installed a piece of software, updated their OS, let alone think about what software or hardware is. They just want press the "on" button and have everything work, out of the box, seamlessly, without having to think about HOW it works. Switching to Linux, even for the most approachable distros, like Linux Mint, requires a certain amount of awareness, research and experimentation that most people are not interested in getting involved with.
    I have this same type of relationship with my automobile. I want to get in and go. I even resent stopping to get gas. Any maintenance it needs I grudgingly pay someone else to do. Luckily, computers are not as smelly as cars. I am the person most people I know come to when they can't figure out why their computer isn't working. I've been tinkering around on Windows since before it had windows. I have finally decided to take the plunge to transition to Linux for two reasons.
    1. Because Linux is finally close to being ready for showtime. This means that I can install it and hit the ground running. I've got confidence I can install it, and use it without a lot of compatibility issues, or downtime.
    2. I have lost all hope that Microsoft will ever again produce a usable OS. They have become increasingly slimy, and have cynically demonstrated, over and over again, their utter contempt for their user base. This is because they have decided to cater exclusively to the technotard 90 percent, who have no idea of the real cost (their personal privacy,) of using Microsoft's advertising as a service platform. Apple, who I was never a fan of, has shown similar contempt for their user base.
    As I gain proficiency with Linux, and as Windows becomes increasingly intrusive and horrid, I hope to to a bit of evangelizing, help some friends to try Linux and maybe even help shepherd the agency I work for into adopting Linux. Wish me luck.
    So thank you for your discussions on Linux, and thanks to those in the Linux community who have the patience to help us noobs transition. I hope the Linux community takes your points to heart and is able to do some marketing, particularly that brick and mortar availability, and also, developing relationships with the education community. Wouldn't it be great if young people's earliest experience with computers were in kindergarten on Linux? Get the school systems set up with Linux, and you will see the Linux community mushroom.

  11. I love Linux, but someone said developer don't care, and some are going for pretty rather than functional. KDE Plasma feels that way sometimes when my desktop when it crashed before then seemingly the OLD desktop from KDE 3 appears??? Or at least I see Icon on a background that Is not my desktop… Wasteful. people today don't code the same as back in the late 70s and Early 80s, we had limited memory, so code was written to be highly efficient. The same piece of code might be used for three to four things, now sometimes an identical or almost identical piece of code might be in three or four places in the same code. I think coders should be forced to program in environments where RAM, ROM, and HDD space is sparse, and only be given MORE memory when it is clearly demonstrated that the program can not function without it… Same with OSes. KDE is for me the only desktop for a number of reasons, however it still uses more space than it should… far more.

  12. I have a Lenovo desktop, with an Intel WiFi/Bluetooth PCIe card installed. Under Windows 7/8 this cards Bluetooth was flaky. Under Linux even after adding hardware updates, additional software, and everything I could find and using every tip or suggestion how to fix it, Bluetooth still did not work in Linux. A few months later I saw a few others having the same problems with this card, both in Linux and Windows. after 7-9 months All I saw were people complaining about this card in specific machines, including the Lenovo model I was using. 1 year out, this cards Bluetooth side no longer was recognized by Windows. Now when this first started, I thought hmmm… maybe this won't work under Linux, because in worked fine under Linux the first couple days, (until it got flaky). I blamed Linux for not always having the most recent hardware available. More than a year out I discovered that this card never really worked in my machine, and everyone that used it Windows or Linux thought this device sucked and support of the chip sucked. Was this because the Lenovo machine was at fault, or the Intel chip? I do not know. I still use that card because there are two versions of it… one with Bluetooth and one without, I had purchased the card dirt cheap at a Micro Center, and another card without Bluetooth would cost me more. A card with added Bluetooth would cost me even more than a card without. Besides which, this card excels at connecting to the WiFi network in my home, and since this house was built in the 50's, I do not have an easier way to connect my network together than WiFi.

    I have since upgraded from Kubuntu 14.04 all the way up to 18.04, re-partitioned the drive to exclude Windows since Windows runs slow or kludges badly on this machine. With Cortana Windows 10 basically was unusable. Linux can run better on slower machines than WIndows, the reason for that is overhead. back when I was using Vista and Kubuntu 12/13 There was a UPS attached to on of the computers that dual booted Windows and Linux, and the difference was noticeable. Under Linux browsing the internet (Firefox) and having Open Office running; the power consumption on the UPS was around 100-120 watts. Under Windows also vising the same series of web addresses (Again Firefox), and opening the same office files (again using Open Office) The power consumption was around 190-220 watts. Both Linux and Windows were doing the same identical work, with very similar appearing desktop graphics, except Linux was using multiple desktops and the Desktop Cube effect so I could rotate a cube to get to another desktop and reduce visual clutter. The use of openGL graphics to place my desktops increased Linux's overhead yet the machine ran cooler by a slight amount, and used between 90-100 watts less power.

    Because Linux has less overhead I have used computers for a much longer time before upgrading, I have however found I must sometime return equipment due to compatibility problem. Compatibility Issue have decreased over the years. However the reason I switched to Linux as my mainstay is three fold, and for me a great decision. First I use few games, and usually not the latest greatest anyway. My computers systems tend to be older, or just much lesser than top-end machines, and I find that if hardware is NOT supported I can often tweak software to make it work. In fact the last reason is the MAIN reason I switched to Linux. Back in 1994/1995, I could NOT afford a high end machine, but wanted one. I bought the best motherboard I could afford, the first Pentiums were out, but I got instead a 486DX4-100mhz chip, the best video card, and a honking hugh tower in black. The tower was the hard one to find, everything was white (off white) back then. But I bought these parts over a 6-12 month period (can't remember how long it took). I got a copy of this "new" OS called Windows 95! Built the machine and installed Windows. Installing Windows was a real fight, it hated my HDD, it was a SCSI HDD, I had an external SCSI CD-ROM that looked like a portable CD Player for playing music only it had a mini or micro SCSI port. (Had to get a custom cable to go from full size SCSI to the smaller plug on the CDROM. BTW that CD-ROM was often taken along with me to be used as a music player! Anyway during the two week of use I had to constantly reboot windows to maintain functionality as it froze up many times. Had to reinstall Windows 3 times when Windows ate itself alive, an constantly had other issues.

    So I installed Slackware (Linux Distribution). Linux installed easy enough, but I had to inform it of every specification of every piece of hardware, had to use the hardware documentation to figure all that out. Once installed it ran smooth as glass NO crashes, well 2 or three but they were my fault. Once I did a rm -r * in the root directory so Linux was erased from the system WHILE the system was being used… BIG CRASH! and a few other NOOB mistakes, but I leaned my lesson. After that first month or two of leaning, that home-brew SCSI system ran smooth for TEN years! It crashed maybe 4 times in ten years. Newer versions of Linux Crash more often, but that because of all the things we expect an OS to do now, Windows does it too. I stayed familiar with Windows and Linux Distros over the years, but I'll never have a computer with the main OS as Windows. I will dual boot it along with Linux, or as I have done before, install Windows in a Vertual Machine. I have always dreamed of a Linux/Windows/Mac combo. Also recently found a computer case to two Motherboards, with an addon for additional space (Looks big enough for a third motherboard), I am thinking of buy this 500+ dollar case installing three Identical Motherboards, and putting three different OS. I would also put in either a KVM, or install Synergy so all three share a Keyboard and Mouse. This will take a while, because I have been injured and have little income at present… need to get back to work! But one case three OSes??? Cool! now if only I can figure out how to cluster three different OS together…

  13. You covered valid points and I want to reiterate that my biggest issue is hardware drivers. Recently I purchased a new laptop and installed Linux. There were 3 components that did not work – Wifi, fingerprint reader and bluetooth. I searched the web for drivers and found non except a Wifi driver on the AUR which lets be honest is not really a long term solution.
    My solution was to reinstall Windows. Until manufacturers make an effort to release their drivers on Linux, whether open source or proprietary, Linux will not become mainstream.

  14. linux = freedom, you own your os and computer and can do anything with it and to it not to mention it's free…. microsoft = money, spying, they own the os you paid for, they totally control your computer and os and, they can delete or change anything they choose to and if you read their ula then you know their is not a dam thing you can do about it and if you mess with the os and get caught you could end up in court. i took all day installing windows 7 and all the updates and drivers, then decided to install linux mint side by side on the same drive and within about an hour i was up and running on the net with all updates. probably in a few days i will be deleting windows 7 and freeing up that drive space, once i learn my way around this new os…

  15. Trying to get used to Arch based distros at the moment and I'm pretty sure I fudged my Nvidia and Vulkan drivers. Trying to stay away from posting on forums because I don't want to get an RTFM. I'm not new to linux but I'm new to Arch base. And it's a bit different. I'm learning it from reading other peoples posts on forums and it's challenging when coming from Ubuntu it was a post on a forum of "how do I do this?" but on Manjaro I see alot of RTFM when it's a question like that. So a bit of a curve. I can learn from reading forums and figuring it out but when I can't just ask to get it over with when I can't find anything on it it's a bit of a curve. I haven't had any tearing but Gsync doesn't work and on Ubuntu I had to disable my second monitor and Vulkan when I run "vulkaninfo | less" it just says END. Can't find anything for that outcome. I've reinstalled and installed differently and no matter what I always get that output. Vulkan works fine it just gives a weird output. So I think unless I can find something I'm just gonna leave it.

  16. Online support is actually superior to live support much of the time, you can send screenshots, links etc for explaining the problem and the solution. But online you have more instant availability of support. 2 in the morning and you need help? You can pop into a IRC chat room and maybe get help. Someone doesn't know in that room? Maybe someone else does. And Windows, there is no "local support" unless you mean repair shops that cost money and won't talk you through it but instead just do their own whatever fix.

  17. Downloading updated drivers or restarting something to troubleshoot/get it working is objectively not even close to having to possess enough knowledge to "deep dive" and make changes and tweaks to get something working. That is not subjective at all. One requires intimate and advanced knowledge of things at the hardware and software level. The other requires one to be able to download and run a program and/or turn a peripheral on or off.

    That's like saying learning how to program your own game engine from scratch is only subjectively more difficult than running and learning something like Unreal Engine 4.

    Similar comments are made in the video (though it's overall good), and I think this is an issue with Linux that not enough of its users seem to realize, or reign themselves in from doing…
    You people make far too many vast, sweeping statements about Linux, and assumptions about the knowledge/expectations/experience of people looking to make the switch.

    Also, arguing that you can "technically" use Adobe products, because older versions work just fine is .. well.. splitting hairs. You may as well just say "It doesn't reliably support Adobe, especially newer versions. You're probably better checking into long-standing, well-supported alternatives, like GIMP". People aren't going to go out and say "Oh cool.. I can use Photoshop on Linux through WINE. It's a 10 year-old version, and has spotty performance, but hey…. It's Photoshop on Linux!", when they can look at their Windows box and realize they can be running the latest and greatest version, with all of its new/advanced features and support.

    I love Linux. I really do. I'm looking at distros currently to set up a second box running it exclusively. But this culture of over-hyping and, frankly, mis-representing Linux to people who don't know better drives me nuts.

    What drives me nuts about Linux is the way many in its community portray it in these unrealistic, disingenuous ways. Too many assumptions, too many sweeping generalizations that completely ignore a vast amount of details and specifics that could drastically change any given situation. Too much omitting or otherwise dismissing very real caveats and "gotchas" that an experienced Linux user wouldn't even think about, but could stop a new Linux user dead in their tracks. You set up these unrealistic expectations in people who don't know any better, and it leads to very disappointing experiences that send people back to using Windows, never wanting to look at Linux again. I've seen it many times.

  18. Yes! In the past to completely avoid hardware compatibility problems you would go to System 76 or Za Reason to get your Linux of choice preinstalled on your new machine, but you would pay a price. I see Linux getting better and better in all areas.

  19. I prefer Linux for the reason that there's 99% less malware which can affect your system. It's free, open source Linux Mint 19 is a nice os to start with I think. Just an opinion 🙂

  20. @1:34 There is a laptop that comes with Linux, it is the Acer Aspire 3 with Ryzen 5 2500U 8GB RAM 256GB SSD A315-41-R2GU.
    @2:20 I wouldn't say it sucks but you have to ""jump through a lot more hops" to make it work. If you need it primarily for MS Office, games and web browsing, there are solutions for Linux. There is a software layer based on wine that lets you use MS Office on Linux, there is a translation layer for Steam which lets you play your Windows game library and web browsing is the easiest task, so I am on the fence and I am kinda nerdy. 🙂

  21. I seem to be one of the unlucky users that has all the unsupported hardware/software. GQ-4X device programmer- no support at all. Dell 3000cn printer- works but you can't use options like additional paper trays for labels. Realtek ALC1150- basic functions work, but have fun with good multi channel support and jack retasking. Programming cable/software for the label printers I use at work- no support at all.

    That said, I'm a Linux user when it comes to HTPC's, servers, and other dedicated use systems. Kodi and VLC work equally well on both Windows and Linux, and so does Firefox. And I was delighted to see that Skype is finally more up to date on Linux for the most part. Too bad iTunes will never be available (at least not full store functionality). I'd use another music service if they could match the library that iTunes has. I convert the tracks to OGG and FLAC after downloading them anyway.

  22. i love linux! do i use it? NO. why? software sucks when it comes to something you need to use to make money. if you guys want linux to be more adopted, make an awesome video editing, CAD, DAW type software. most people play solitaire on there phone not computer . they sit in front of a computer to get work done. i feel like that is the reason people use apple. back in the day if you wanted to do any art type work on a computer, you had an apple. now look at them.

  23. I'll give you one good reason, because I just run into it myself, trying to install Linux Mint 19 -Cinnamon on my notebook. People who have switched to Linux are not very good at sharing all of the issues that comes with installing Linux with others. Not a single video I've watched, mentioned anything about having to turn off Secure Boot when installing Linux on hardware, and, yet, I guess, this is something everyone is just supposed to know.

  24. I started out with Ubuntu on my laptop and then install Linux 19 mint, but had to uninstall Linux 19 do to login loop which for two days I tried fixing it and finding help to no avail. So my big problem is support. Would not recommend Linux for regular use. Any way I’ll do a fresh install tomorrow cause I still really like better than Ubuntu

  25. Well my 63 year old mum manages just fine with linux and she's not exactly computer savvy 🙂 (though to be fair she didn't actually install it without assistance).Linux has come a long way these last years.

  26. #5 in combination with #9 are the two primary reasons Linux will never be mainstream. A manufacturer will never write drivers for nearly an infinite number of forks of linux for every feature of every device they make. 90% of PC users fall into the "Windows users who are not as tech savvy."

Comments are closed.