30 votes

Linus and Luke of LTT try to daily drive Linux

86 comments

  1. [6]
    kfwyre
    (edited )
    Link
    I’m in this video, and I don't like it! I'm the exact kind of person who Linus is talking about when he talks about seeking out a Linux distro being a process that is overly technical, overly...
    • Exemplary

    I’m in this video, and I don't like it!

    I'm the exact kind of person who Linus is talking about when he talks about seeking out a Linux distro being a process that is overly technical, overly complicated, and overall overwhelming. When he ran into the Steam error, Googled it, and then pushed through the "solution" on the terminal, I got secondhand embarrassment for him, because I would have done the exact same thing. I know and understand some of what I'm doing on Linux, but there's a lot that I don't and just take for granted. When I run into issues, certain ones seem solveable, while other ones I just acknowledge are "above my paygrade" and I ignore/live with them. I know enough to not just copy/paste random commands from the internet that I don't understand, but that hesitation wouldn't have triggered for me in that moment, because I'd be fully comfortable putting in an apt command and seeing it through.

    That said, I've been using Pop!_OS for just over two years now, and I'm amazed at how good it is. Most of the time it "just works", and, because I'm not heavily technical, I don't have heavily technical needs. Firefox, LibreOffice, and Steam make up >95% of my time on the computer. I could probably be happy on nearly any Linux distro because nearly all of them will get me online, let me deal with my documents, and play some games.

    Proton is absolutely phenomenal and continues to blow me away -- one of the "above my paygrade" things is how it works. I genuinely don't understand how a complicated Windows game can just sort of effortlessly run on an operating system for which it is not designed. Because I don't understand it, it comes across as magic to me. The whole OS, really, hits that note. I don't understand how I can do all of what I'm doing on an open source platform that I'm running for free. You know how many times I've heard "if you're not paying for the product then you are the product" applied to tech? Part of why I don't understand Linux is that it literally doesn't fit into my perspective of how modern technology should run -- it is free, but I am not the product. It is, instead, a genuinely incredible product that doesn't even want to ask anything of me. How does that work? How is that sustainable? I genuinely do not understand.

    I keep a Windows machine attached to my TV for couch gaming. It's not the effortless paradise it's often made out to be when compared with Linux. You know the mouse issue that Luke ran into when booting up Mint, where the cursor on-screen was out of alignment? That same thing is an ongoing issue on my Windows PC. I have my taskbar at the left of the screen, and my mouse randomly gets offset by the width of that taskbar. Sometimes if I want to click on something I can click it -- sometimes I have to move it over and click in the dead space two inches to the right of it. I have no idea how to fix this and just restart my computer so that it will go away.

    What drove me to Linux in the first place was literally every Windows installation I've ever had or worked with running slower over time. When I first installed Windows 10 it was great, but then it started chugging, until it got so bad that it was excruciating. I would boot, and my computer would sit at 100% disk usage for half an hour, which would bring my computer to its knees, slowing it to an absolute crawl. We're talking double-digit seconds between double-clicking a program and actually seeing its window open. If you Google the issue you can find dozens of different "solutions", many of which fall into the "you could brick your install" category. You know how many I saw that recommended I dive into my registry with some scissors and start cutting shit up?! Others recommended I just deactivate whole subroutines of Windows, most of which I had literally no idea what they did. "Oh, just run services.msc and deactivate these 19 unintuitively named items."

    That computer wasn't alone, by the way. I had an issue with my work machine running Windows where it wouldn't install current updates. I contacted tech support and let them know because I didn't want to have a vulnerable machine. When the tech showed up, he got fed up with how slow my computer was while he was attempting to fix the issue and ended up ordering me a whole new computer on the spot. I can guarantee you the slowness wasn't from me loading up the computer with unnecessary programs on startup because I don't have admin rights to install anything on my work machine! It was as lean as the day I started with it and ran almost nothing beyond a web browser.

    My dad, who turns to me for tech support, has had the same issue with Windows for years. His workaround is to turn his computer on and then go brew his coffee and have a cup or two while reading the news in hopes that, ~60 minutes after boot, the disk usage will drop low enough that the machine is usable.

    After years of dealing with the issue across multiple fronts I finally found an actual solution buried on some thread somewhere -- it was someone saying "Windows 10 won't work without an SSD -- buy a new computer". I appreciated the honesty instead of being strung along with a bunch of incomprehensible "under the hood" tweaks that don't work anyway, but it also didn't make sense to me that a computer that ran fine a few months ago with a plain old HDD was now suddenly so slow as to need replacing.

    I know the Windows vs. Linux stuff is all overblown, but I say all of this because I think Linux gets a bad rap for undeserved reasons. Pop!_OS is fluid, easy, and effortless except in the moments when it's not. Those moments genuinely do suck, and some of them I have just learned to look past (like the fact that my computer decided to irreparably break up with my scanner). Linus ran into one of those issues, and it genuinely did suck. I don't think Windows is immune from those issues though, nor has it ever been. I'm old enough to remember when simply going to the wrong website in Internet Explorer could fuck up your whole install with popups and adware. I used to run Spybot and Ad-Aware frequently in fear that my computer had been compromised because I accidentally typed gogle.com in the address bar. The same goes for opening attachments in emails -- a decades-long threat that still hasn't gone away. These are longstanding, widespread, and ongoing usability issues in Windows with potentially devastating consequences, but for some reason the standard seems to be that Linux has to be perfect to be even considered as an alternative. Anything less than perfection is, seemingly, laughable and easily dismissed.

    In my experience as a lay user, Linux is genuinely great. Not perfect, but way better than its reputation at large. I'm happy with it and, most importantly, after two years of use it is still as snappy and quick as it has ever been. Every Windows machine I've ever had has devolved into what feels like a morass of molasses. For me, Linux's long-term responsiveness doesn't just count for something -- it is literally everything. It's why I switched, and why I continue to be happy that I did. It's like magic to me -- incredible, free magic.

    26 votes
    1. vord
      Link Parent
      You ever have a chair with one of the pads missing, and it will wobble every time you sit on it? It can drive people mad (certainly did for me). It's like a $5 fix at most, and took me 5 minutes...

      It is, instead, a genuinely incredible product that doesn't even want to ask anything of me. How does that work? How is that sustainable? I genuinely do not understand.

      You ever have a chair with one of the pads missing, and it will wobble every time you sit on it? It can drive people mad (certainly did for me). It's like a $5 fix at most, and took me 5 minutes (mostly just looking for the hammer).

      If you had an issue like that in Windows, Microsoft wouldn't give you the time of day to bother with it unless it became a PR disaster...diagnosing it, fixing it, and testing it would take considerable resources.

      But with Linux? Despite being a small fraction of desktop users, it's a platform where many users can fix problems that bother them. And those changes propagate across the entire ecosystem.

      I'm not a programmer. But I can submit bug reports with descriptions of how things broke. I provided a good one to KDE for a crash in the icon tray. There was a program I use which was out of date in the repository and I was able to see the maintainers build logs (OpenSUSE OBS is amazing) and submit an issue to call attention the the failing build.

      Linux is an example of what a post-scarcity economy can look like. A giant, collaborative effort, where the main cost is the initial creation, and the entire ecosystem benefits from improvements that propagate everywhere.

      10 votes
    2. cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I think a lot of the harsh criticism that gets directed towards Linux honestly comes from a place of love and admiration. We're often hardest on the things we love/admire, and most people who are...

      I think Linux gets a bad rap for undeserved reasons

      I think a lot of the harsh criticism that gets directed towards Linux honestly comes from a place of love and admiration. We're often hardest on the things we love/admire, and most people who are genuinely into computers, love the overall idea of Linux, admire it (and the developers behind it), and want to see it achieve universal success. And the fact that it hasn't yet (at least not in the consumer market) leads to people trying to identify and point out its faults, no matter how minor; Not out of malice, but again, out of love and a desire to help it achieve that success.

      And conversely, fanboys aside, since most of us still using Windows as a daily driver are only doing so begrudgingly at this point, it's easier for us to brush aside its issues. We're used to dealing with them by now, and we also don't expect much from Windows (or Microsoft) at this point either.

      9 votes
    3. [3]
      Grzmot
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Windows has also matured a lot as a platform and a lot of the issues it has today come from the fact that Microsoft has to string along the vast majority of all computer users including...

      Linus ran into one of those issues, and it genuinely did suck. I don't think Windows is immune from those issues though, nor has it ever been. I'm old enough to remember when simply going to the wrong website in Internet Explorer could fuck up your whole install with popups and adware.

      Windows has also matured a lot as a platform and a lot of the issues it has today come from the fact that Microsoft has to string along the vast majority of all computer users including businesseses which are notoriously avert to change. A lot of the problems also come from the fact that Microsoft needs to make money. Luckily they realized a few years back that the advantage from just having this large install base is worth much more than trying to monetize Windows itself, so today they use it more like a platform to sell their other shit to you which leads to things like Microsoft Teams being built into Windows 11.

      The big problem I have with the defense of Linux in this case is that Linus didn't try to do some cryptic magic of modifying the OS itself. I tried to install Steam. Yes he pushed past a very important warning, yes if he read a little more of said warning he would've seen that he was about to uninstall his desktop environment, but that warning was still really badly worded. I think the problem comes from the fact that a lot of people interested in Linux so much that they work on it are nerds, so the software that comes out is ultimately geared towards nerds. It's often ugly, mismatched and lacks UX design. The fact that often every application is developed by someone else doesn't help with the consistency of the experience, which makes it very hard for people who want their shit to just work to learn or want to learn. As long as that won't change, Linux will never have mass-market appeal. I think I would actually like to see a distro that has proper UX design.

      Luckily though, a lot of work on computers is moving into the web and towards thin clients with your browser becoming a sort of swiss-army knife catch-all program that does everything. I think that this will be good for Linux because browsers work on there and if they work the vast majority of your computer interaction will too. The problem is that getting to the point where you can point and click at a browser icon and it opens a browser reliably is, and I cannot stress this enough, really fucking complicated.

      Addendum: In one of there recent podcast episodes the two talk about more issues they encountered: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVmJooy5NiU

      7 votes
      1. mtset
        Link Parent
        It's worth mentioning that there is major CAD software for Windows that to this day requires running the uninstaller in Safe Mode because otherwise it'll break the OS - no warning box or anything....

        The big problem I have with the defense of Linux in this case is that Linus didn't try to do some cryptic magic of modifying the OS itself. [He] tried to install Steam.

        It's worth mentioning that there is major CAD software for Windows that to this day requires running the uninstaller in Safe Mode because otherwise it'll break the OS - no warning box or anything.

        This problem sucks but it is deeply unfair, imo, to criticize the entire Linux ecosystem for having the same kind of problem for a few hours on the wrong day.

        The problem is that getting to the point where you can point and click at a browser icon and it opens a browser reliably is, and I cannot stress this enough, really fucking complicated.

        From an engineering perspective, sure, but from a user perspective it's not hard at all: give StarLabs or System76 a wad of cash and you're off to the races.

        I don't see people out here criticizing Mac OS as "never having mass market appeal" because Hackintoshes are hard, and the Ubuntu installer is certainly no more difficult to get, set up, or use than the Windows installer. Let's at least compare apples to apples?

        6 votes
      2. 0d_billie
        Link Parent
        You should give elementary OS a look!

        I think I would actually like to see a distro that has proper UX design.

        You should give elementary OS a look!

        3 votes
  2. [20]
    stu2b50
    Link
    Thought this was interesting as it showed both the happy path, and the, uh, not happy path of trying to use linux as a DE. Luke got the happy path - apart from the live boot utterly failing to...

    Thought this was interesting as it showed both the happy path, and the, uh, not happy path of trying to use linux as a DE. Luke got the happy path - apart from the live boot utterly failing to handle multi monitor, everything was mostly smooth.

    Linus got the sad path. Installing steam via a PopOS store (which just uses apt behind the scenes) had an error, he googled it, google told him to use apt directly, apt for some reason decided to delete his desktop environment as part of dependency resolution.

    Some people are criticizing him ignoring the apt warning, but c'mon, read the warning: it says it's as part of installing Steam, it needs to remove a bunch of packages, most of which are something about gnomes (how would a beginner know that gnome is the DE that PopOS uses?), and if you really want to do this type this sentence to move forward.

    I would imagine most users would fall into two buckets: those who power through, and those who get scared. Neither are good results - one deletes their DE, the other is blocked on installing Steam.

    In the end he does get Manjaro mostly working, although his audio drivers are not working (classic!)

    Funnily enough, a PopOS dev said this in response

    any normal user would report the issue to GitHub at that point, in fact a normal user did

    Uh huh

    20 votes
    1. [13]
      admicos
      Link Parent
      not to mention how it's just a big block of text you don't expect anyone to read. people don't think about UAC popups before clicking OK and those could be way more dangerous if this isn't a joke...

      Some people are criticizing him ignoring the apt warning, but c'mon, read the warning: it says it's as part of installing Steam, it needs to remove a bunch of packages, most of which are something about gnomes (how would a beginner know that gnome is the DE that PopOS uses?), and if you really want to do this type this sentence to move forward.

      not to mention how it's just a big block of text you don't expect anyone to read. people don't think about UAC popups before clicking OK and those could be way more dangerous

      any normal user would report the issue to GitHub at that point, in fact a normal user did

      if this isn't a joke then i really lost trust for pop's (or components developed by that dev, depends) first user experience. users who don't know enough to blindly echo what the terminal tells them to write won't know enough know where to report a bug (or what to report, as i'm sure that guy won't accept a report that says "steam doesn't install from the shop fix it" and nothing else)


      this series will most likely catch the attention of the elitists in the linux community (ones that will say stuff like all users should know how to package software), and i hope the community can ignore their loudness and work on making the experience better for newcomers (who don't need to know stuff and will happily fall back to windows if needed, ltt is special in that they have a "real" punishment for doing that)

      sometimes, i feel like some (very much a minority of) people are actively hostile to newcomers to keep their "elite" status for having installed arch or whatever when discussions of things like that arise, and i just have to hope that's not a thing

      20 votes
      1. [12]
        mtset
        Link Parent
        This was an issue for less than an hour. Yes, it should have never been an issue, but it's also exceedingly unlikely anything like this will happen to the vast majority of users, and the culture...

        if this isn't a joke then i really lost trust for pop's (or components developed by that dev, depends) first user experience.

        This was an issue for less than an hour. Yes, it should have never been an issue, but it's also exceedingly unlikely anything like this will happen to the vast majority of users, and the culture of finding and reporting bugs is a huge positive and not a negative - remember, this is a volunteer project with a few full time developers at different companies. Community engagement is a requirement and I don't think that's a bad thing.

        5 votes
        1. [7]
          stu2b50
          Link Parent
          That's actually not really true for either case. PopOS itself is developed and maintained by a for profit company, System76, who bundles it with their hardware products. Linux's kernel gets the...

          this is a volunteer project with a few full time developers at different companies

          That's actually not really true for either case. PopOS itself is developed and maintained by a for profit company, System76, who bundles it with their hardware products.

          Linux's kernel gets the vast majority of its patches submitted by developers at companies like Red Hat, Google, and so forth. Although many if not most maintainers (Linus's lieutenants) are volunteers, the development tends to be funded by private developments.


          But that all belies the point: submitting bug reports is fundamentally more volunteerism than a solution to a problem. If you're Linus, and you want to end up with a working system that can play games that night, submitting an issue on github and waiting an indefinite amount of time for the issue to be maybe be addressed is not a solution, and is absolutely not what a normal user would do.

          It is a healthy piece of community work to make the whole ecosystem better. But that's exactly why it's not what "normal" users do.

          17 votes
          1. [6]
            mtset
            Link Parent
            This is an absolutely infuriating double standard. Am I permitted to reject Windows, and expect others to do so, because I have never once been able to successfully report a bug to them and get it...

            submitting an issue on github and waiting an indefinite amount of time for the issue to be maybe be addressed is not a solution

            This is an absolutely infuriating double standard. Am I permitted to reject Windows, and expect others to do so, because I have never once been able to successfully report a bug to them and get it fixed?

            That's actually not really true for either case. PopOS itself is developed and maintained by a for profit company, System76, who bundles it with their hardware products.

            Yeah - they employ "a few" developers. Microsoft and Apple have armies, in comparison.

            6 votes
            1. [5]
              stu2b50
              Link Parent
              Sure? If this situation happened with Windows (which, based on the number of windows users and statistics, it likely does many times year), the response would be similarly ridiculed. If someone...

              Am I permitted to reject Windows, and expect others to do so, because I have never once been able to successfully report a bug to them and get it fixed?

              Sure?

              If this situation happened with Windows (which, based on the number of windows users and statistics, it likely does many times year), the response would be similarly ridiculed.

              If someone tried to install like Microsoft Word from the Window store, leading to a sequence of events ending with the user having inadvertently deleted win32, and Balmer tried to say it was their problem because they should have opened a ticket midway, that would, in equal standard, not be taken very well.

              14 votes
              1. [4]
                mtset
                Link Parent
                That's not what I or the Pop dev was saying. What happened here is that a bug was committed to the Pop repos (bad, a failure on Pop's part) and then reported and fixed. That is normal and healthy,...

                Balmer tried to say it was their problem because they should have opened a ticket midway

                That's not what I or the Pop dev was saying. What happened here is that a bug was committed to the Pop repos (bad, a failure on Pop's part) and then reported and fixed. That is normal and healthy, and I don't really understand what the problem is with that response.

                If someone tried to install like Microsoft Word from the Window store, leading to a sequence of events ending with the user having inadvertently deleted win32

                What a funny hypothetical. Imagine if updating to Windows 10 without user consent bricked someone's computer? OH WAIT. https://nora.codes/post/a-story-about-my-personal-trainer/

                5 votes
                1. [3]
                  stu2b50
                  Link Parent
                  No, his point was clearly Linus was "doing it wrong". He is half correct, in that many normal users would get scared off by the scary terminal wall of text, but rather than create a github issue,...

                  No, his point was clearly Linus was "doing it wrong".

                  If his intention was to try it like a normal user, a normal user would have asked for help at some point in this process. In fact, a normal user did just that, and we fixed it: https://github.com/pop-os/beta/issues/221.

                  He is half correct, in that many normal users would get scared off by the scary terminal wall of text, but rather than create a github issue, they would go install another OS (whether that be windows or another distro) so they can move on with their what they want to do with their computers.

                  It's a fairly ridiculous assertion.

                  What a funny hypothetical. Imagine if updating to Windows 10 without user consent bricked someone's computer?

                  I'm not sure what you're trying to say? I feel like you're really trying to make this "windows vs linux" dichotomy which no one is actually saying? Windows has numerous issues like that; the registry is infamously a den of global state that traditionally all installed applications write to, and upon corruption, breaks the entire OS. People, very deservedly, bash on windows all the time.

                  18 votes
                  1. [2]
                    mtset
                    Link Parent
                    In that case, I'm not sure what you are saying? The Pop devs shouldn't have committed a bug, that much is obvious - but when you say: aren't you asserting that this is enough to scare someone off...

                    I feel like you're really trying to make this "windows vs linux" dichotomy which no one is actually saying?

                    In that case, I'm not sure what you are saying? The Pop devs shouldn't have committed a bug, that much is obvious - but when you say:

                    they would go install another OS

                    aren't you asserting that this is enough to scare someone off from using the software entirely?

                    It's possible that I'm missing the point of this conversation, but seeing the "some journo tried Linux and hated it because of one (1) bug" periodically vs my experience of everyone I know having significant issues with other OSes on the regular and nobody saying shit about not using those commercial OSes because of that just really annoys me.

                    Yeah, software has bugs. Yeah, the software written by a few (and it is few, compared to the competitors) pros and a mishmash of community volunteers has more rough edges than the commercial offerings. I don't really see what the end goal of constantly surfacing this stuff as "ZOMG LINUX IS HARD TO USE" is other than being hostile for no reason.

                    3 votes
                    1. stu2b50
                      Link Parent
                      I think this is getting lost in the weeds. To refocus, on the topic video, it would be an incredible disservice to simple say it is "some journo tried Linux and hated it" - given the talk about...

                      I think this is getting lost in the weeds. To refocus, on the topic video, it would be an incredible disservice to simple say it is "some journo tried Linux and hated it" - given the talk about this experiment before it happened, both hosts went in with the most charitable possible mindset - in fact, you could downright say they both wanted to come out it with "wow, Linux as a desktop is a great state, you should really consider it over W11".

                      And indeed, one of the hosts did (mostly) have that experience. And the second host still persisted with Linux - just not PopOS, understandably. So as to

                      I don't really see what the end goal of constantly surfacing this stuff as "ZOMG LINUX IS HARD TO USE" is other than being hostile for no reason.

                      For one, it's just interesting to see the dichotomy and perspective - I cannot, for instance, have this fresh experience after having to deal with linux servers for a job. Secondly, for the Linux community, it's valuable feedback.

                      To come out of the video with the feeling that it's some attack on Linux just seems incredibly defensive.

                      That one dev's response is more of a sidenote, but it is both very silly and emblematic of a real issue, in that people deep into something can't see the forest for the trees. "You're doing it wrong" is almost never the right answer in UI/UX. And normal users are unlikely to post issues on Github, a mailing list, or any other ticketing system - they'll bulldoze through or give up, depending on personality.


                      As to

                      aren't you asserting that this is enough to scare someone off from using the software entirely?

                      Windows != other os? That's exactly what happened in the video - Linus gave up on PopOS and went with Manjaro, which, as far as I know, has not decided to be based off of NT suddenly. I suspect many first time users, if they want to game on linux and trying this OS, will be similarly if they're hard blocked on installing a necessary piece of software.

                      17 votes
        2. [2]
          admicos
          Link Parent
          enough to produce ISOs with that issue? yet not enough to produce new ISOs to fix that issue? as far as I can tell anyway linus never did an update, which probably would've fixed it unless you're...

          This was an issue for less than an hour.

          enough to produce ISOs with that issue? yet not enough to produce new ISOs to fix that issue? as far as I can tell anyway linus never did an update, which probably would've fixed it

          unless you're saying that the issue only happened at the exact hour linus did his attempt, which sounds a bit too much of a coincidence, though it can be true. i don't know

          and the culture of finding and reporting bugs is a huge positive and not a negative

          i agree, though i personally don't think it's useful to expect new users to report any issues they come across even if the only reason was that it's not windows or mac and they aren't used to OS developers caring about their issues

          (other reasons include: bug reporting possibly being too hard or "unknown" to bother with, the user's computer being unusable to report said bugs, user switching to some other distro and not bothering to notify the previous one)

          3 votes
          1. mtset
            Link Parent
            This is not what happened. The issue was with the packages on the server, which he did reach out to over the internet - an apt update, technically, which fetches the package lists. It had nothing...

            enough to produce ISOs with that issue? yet not enough to produce new ISOs to fix that issue?

            This is not what happened. The issue was with the packages on the server, which he did reach out to over the internet - an apt update, technically, which fetches the package lists. It had nothing to do with the ISO images.

            i agree, though i personally don't think it's useful to expect new users to report any issues they come across

            That is not what I was implying, just that because some people do report issues, they tend to actually get fixed.

            4 votes
        3. [2]
          the_funky_buddha
          Link Parent
          Was it just coincidence or was it because it was Linus who had this problem and it got lots of attention with quick remediation? It's been my experience that on forums I probably would've been...

          This was an issue for less than an hour

          Was it just coincidence or was it because it was Linus who had this problem and it got lots of attention with quick remediation? It's been my experience that on forums I probably would've been told that it's not a bug and should be more careful about removing packages. I'm surprised they considered it a bug.

          3 votes
          1. mtset
            Link Parent
            Yes, that's my understanding after talking to some folks more familiar with the incident on Mastodon. It's not a bug in the package manager, but it's definitely a bug in the Steam package, and...

            Was it just coincidence or was it because it was Linus who had this problem and it got lots of attention with quick remediation?

            Yes, that's my understanding after talking to some folks more familiar with the incident on Mastodon.

            It's been my experience that on forums I probably would've been told that it's not a bug and should be more careful about removing packages. I'm surprised they considered it a bug.

            It's not a bug in the package manager, but it's definitely a bug in the Steam package, and they fixed it immediately. Anyone telling you otherwise is an asshole, imho. Not to say there aren't assholes who talk about Linux on the internet, but they generally don't maintain packages for popular user-friendly distros.

            5 votes
    2. nothis
      Link Parent
      Uh huh indeed. I want Linux to be a thing, idealistically speaking. The tech is all there and mostly working. But until the – EXCUSE ME – "distro" community figures out that UX is a thing that...

      Funnily enough, a PopOS dev said this in response

      any normal user would report the issue to GitHub at that point, in fact a normal user did

      Uh huh

      Uh huh indeed.

      I want Linux to be a thing, idealistically speaking. The tech is all there and mostly working. But until the LinuxEXCUSE ME – "distro" community figures out that UX is a thing that exists in the real world, just like file systems and package dependencies, no significant amount of users will be masochistic enough to deal with that shit.

      I give Linux a try about once every 5 years but I never made it a month. You always encounter absolutely infuriating issues that completely break your shit. But that that's not even the worst part. The real issue is the smug replies from people who apparently spend tens of thousands of hours maintaining some part of the ecosystem but who find you unworthy of actually using it if you don't know how to deal with some obscure, command-line based Linux voodoo. Congrats, gate successfully kept.

      13 votes
    3. knocklessmonster
      Link Parent
      I've heard about some of his issues and a fair amount of it is simply because Linux isn't idiot-proof in the way Windows is. I'm not an every day Linux user, but I've got a Kubuntu install I keep...

      I've heard about some of his issues and a fair amount of it is simply because Linux isn't idiot-proof in the way Windows is. I'm not an every day Linux user, but I've got a Kubuntu install I keep around, and a certain fluency in the environment that makes most things easy for me, but it's due to dealing with a lot of shit that is, frankly, unintuitive.

      Hell, a reason I used Arch for a decade as my main distro of choice is I kept having issues with Debian and Ubuntu breaking in ways I couldn't fix. I wasn't an advanced user, I just didn't want utilities between me and what I wanted to do, so I learned to do what I wanted. I do not think this is a reasonable expectation for any distro claiming to be user friendly.

      any normal user would report the issue to GitHub at that point, in fact a normal user did

      Oof. I've got no response.

      9 votes
    4. [2]
      undu
      Link Parent
      I'm very disappointed on how System76 has been reacting to any conflicts with the wider linux community for years already. I started following their principal engineer, I expected insightful posts...

      I'm very disappointed on how System76 has been reacting to any conflicts with the wider linux community for years already.
      I started following their principal engineer, I expected insightful posts about new developments in the linux desktop space. Instead I unfollowed him before a month had passed because of all the attacks and drama flying around.

      I wish they could see that having conflicting ideas doesn't mean others are their enemies, or have bad intentions, and that differences are not insurmountable.

      7 votes
      1. TheJorro
        Link Parent
        Guess who's responsible for that quote above. This one guy just really seems to be bringing this company's reputation down, I've seen multiple people refer to him and his behaviour many times.

        I started following their principal engineer, I expected insightful posts about new developments in the linux desktop space. Instead I unfollowed him before a month had passed because of all the attacks and drama flying around.

        Guess who's responsible for that quote above. This one guy just really seems to be bringing this company's reputation down, I've seen multiple people refer to him and his behaviour many times.

        8 votes
    5. [2]
      nobody
      Link Parent
      I couldn't find that quote anywhere. Could you please provide a reference?

      any normal user would report the issue to GitHub at that point, in fact a normal user did

      I couldn't find that quote anywhere. Could you please provide a reference?

      1 vote
  3. [4]
    fredo
    (edited )
    Link
    I love Linux, but I cannot stand fanboys. So it is very refreshing to see someone with a great audience showing all the hiccups that are generally ignored by reviewers and specially by fans, with...

    I love Linux, but I cannot stand fanboys. So it is very refreshing to see someone with a great audience showing all the hiccups that are generally ignored by reviewers and specially by fans, with their "oh Arch is very stable and easier than Windows actually, as long as I read the news to avoid bad packages, update every 7 days otherwise I'll be left behind with a non-upgradable system, and jump on the terminal for some basic maintenance every once in a while". Yes, you're a computer nerd (so am I...). Of course it's easy for you! Some people just wanna play games without calling for help on a forum or creating an issue on GitHub. And if something requires anything more than a few clicks, it means that it's broken. Regular people should never be expected to type things on a terminal. That's never gonna happen.

    17 votes
    1. [3]
      admicos
      Link Parent
      the linux community has a very big problem with "just do..." recommendations. "he should just install fedora with rpmfusion", which is a thing i've seen both in the twitter replies of their video...

      Yes, you're a computer nerd (so am I...). Of course it's easy for you!

      the linux community has a very big problem with "just do..." recommendations.

      "he should just install fedora with rpmfusion", which is a thing i've seen both in the twitter replies of their video announcement, or on reddit comments of some of their wan show episodes discussing this, really seems like a interesting example

      • the recommender assumes the newcomer knows what fedora and rpmfusion are (that's easy to figure by googling)
      • assumes newcomer's hardware and software are compatible
        • nvidia drivers on some distros are also a big example of "just do..."
      • assumes the installer is easy enough for the user to go through the install step
        • fedora's installer is weird. that disk partition configuration step had some things even i didn't know how to configure, though i knew of their existence and knew i didn't need them,
        • fedora is also not alone. let's not forget about opensuse's complete mess of jargon of an installer
      • assumes rpmfusion is easy to install (""it's just"" downloading a few rpm's)
      • assumes fedora will work for their use cases
        • GNOME is an interesting deviation from the windows mindset
          • the "spins" are harder to find and i don't expect a newcomer to know what the hell a KDE is
      • assumes fedora-specific things like selinux won't conflict with whatever the user needs
        • they're hard to debug without resorting to things like dmesg. i must know, i tried
        • a lot of obscure "5 stars on github" software don't have selinux configuration, or the manpower to create one, should they need it

      even the pop os "just report a bug" thing has this issue. the people saying that assume linus knows enough about github or whatever they use to report bugs. on a previous wan show episode he tried to install a script by right-click saving the syntax highlighted display page (opposed to clicking "raw") so even that might not be a good assumption

      18 votes
      1. [2]
        fredo
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        You're very right. And this is considering that Linus is not really a regular user. He is an extremely capable user, he just happens to use another OS. An actually regular user would probably have...

        You're very right. And this is considering that Linus is not really a regular user. He is an extremely capable user, he just happens to use another OS. An actually regular user would probably have called it a day when the machine shutdown due to a freaking apt install. Truthfully, most users would have stopped when Steam failed to install.

        5 votes
        1. admicos
          Link Parent
          especially ones that don't have a real punishment for switching back, like linus does have

          An actually regular user would probably have called it a day when the machine shutdown due to a freaking apt install. Truthfully, most users would have stopped when Steam failed to install.

          especially ones that don't have a real punishment for switching back, like linus does have

          9 votes
  4. [37]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. [13]
      moocow1452
      Link Parent
      I think that's a Pop! _OS exclusive feature to have that "Are you sure your sure" message appear when you try and delete the DE. Granted, Windows has trained all of its power users that you click...

      I think that's a Pop! _OS exclusive feature to have that "Are you sure your sure" message appear when you try and delete the DE. Granted, Windows has trained all of its power users that you click Yes through all prompts, so it should probably be reworked to be something in Red Text, all caps, spelling out that you are removing critical packages and this will not end well if you don't know what you're doing. Or just don't push a bad Steam Install to prime time, one of the two.

      7 votes
      1. [2]
        babypuncher
        Link Parent
        The problem is that nobody in their right mind would even think that installing Steam would somehow delete their entire desktop environment. This shouldn't even be a scenario that comes up when...

        The problem is that nobody in their right mind would even think that installing Steam would somehow delete their entire desktop environment. This shouldn't even be a scenario that comes up when just installing simple software.

        15 votes
      2. [10]
        nothis
        Link Parent
        Why should you be able to remove the environment you're currently in without explicitly giving a command for it? How can that be a side-effect of installing Steam?

        Why should you be able to remove the environment you're currently in without explicitly giving a command for it? How can that be a side-effect of installing Steam?

        3 votes
        1. [8]
          vektor
          Link Parent
          Not saying it's a reasonable thing to happen, but my understanding is that the "installer" aka package file was borked bad. It was fixed quickly, but in this case it resulted in the package...

          Not saying it's a reasonable thing to happen, but my understanding is that the "installer" aka package file was borked bad. It was fixed quickly, but in this case it resulted in the package manager thinking "well, if I want to install steam, this conflicts with a few things the user has installed, like their desktop." (The desktop is just another piece of software on your machine, after all).

          Most package managers would now go ahead and tell you "I'd update package X to version A, delete package Y and add package Z." You're expected to read that and check whether you find that to be reasonable. Pop!_OS goes one step further and gives you this "Do as I say" hoop to jump through, because the package manager tried to delete something essential-ish, as that's their best bet of getting you to turn on your brain.

          The comments upthread resonated with me:

          • One, to a seasoned user, having to type "Yes, do as I say" is a big red flag. When a command line interface wants your go-ahead, hitting return is usually sufficient. When it wants you to check it and then decide yes or no, "y" or "n" will do the job. At no point have I ever had to enter a phrase like that on a command that didn't have the potential to blow up in my face big time.
          • Two, I understand entirely why someone who is not used to this way of communication and UX design would be inclined to dismiss this, enter whatever it says and move on. (N.b.: I do not think the linux way of doing this is generally wrong. I appreciate that I don't get pointless pop-up dialogs at every corner. Instead, I find that when I do get them I agree that they should be there.)

          As much as I find the outcome unreasonable, I struggle to find a way of making the outcome more expected/more reasonable without making some other unreasonable compromise. If you want to have the benefits of a package manager, you have to accept that even the essentials live within that managed environment. If you want the benefit of quickly-updated packages, you have to accept that occasionally these things go wrong. If you want less obtrusive warnings, you have to accept that sometimes, someone will ignore a warning they shouldn't have. Again, the outcome is unreasonable, but the process in and of itself has no obvious weak spot.

          9 votes
          1. Flashynuff
            Link Parent
            It looks like the POP Shop is already offering a message to the user when the install of a package fails. Perhaps they could check the result of apt the same way the "do as i say" prompt in the...

            As much as I find the outcome unreasonable, I struggle to find a way of making the outcome more expected/more reasonable without making some other unreasonable compromise.

            It looks like the POP Shop is already offering a message to the user when the install of a package fails. Perhaps they could check the result of apt the same way the "do as i say" prompt in the cli does and offer up some more info about what it means and offer an easy way to report the error / ask for support? If you're offering a package manager UI to make it easy to install things you should also make the errors user friendly.

            I actually really enjoy using Pop OS and think the UX is generally very good, but the shop is definitely where I've had the most struggles trying to do basic things.

            3 votes
          2. [6]
            teaearlgraycold
            Link Parent
            What about reversible versioned package manager actions? Isn’t there a distribution that has that?

            What about reversible versioned package manager actions? Isn’t there a distribution that has that?

            1 vote
            1. [4]
              mtset
              Link Parent
              Nix is a huge step forward in that direction but it is not very user friendly for non-technical folks. I do recommend reading up on it if you're interested in reproducible builds and declarative...

              Nix is a huge step forward in that direction but it is not very user friendly for non-technical folks. I do recommend reading up on it if you're interested in reproducible builds and declarative configuration though!

              6 votes
              1. [3]
                vektor
                Link Parent
                Declarative config sound super neat. Can you give an example maybe?

                Declarative config sound super neat. Can you give an example maybe?

                1. mtset
                  (edited )
                  Link Parent
                  Yeah! I won't use the Nix language because it's pretty abstruse, but the gist is that instead of clicking: Install Firefox Install Steam Install a screensaver Set a the system screensaver to the...

                  Yeah! I won't use the Nix language because it's pretty abstruse, but the gist is that instead of clicking:

                  • Install Firefox
                  • Install Steam
                  • Install a screensaver
                  • Set a the system screensaver to the one you installed
                  • Install VSCode
                  • Set some keybindings for VSCode
                  • Install some extensions for VSCode

                  You'd write a file like the following:

                  programs {
                      firefox,
                      steam,
                      vscode {
                          keybindings {
                              "Ctrl+shift+x": vscode.some_command,
                          },
                          extensions {
                              vim_bindings,
                              rust_analyzer,
                          }
                     }
                  }
                  
                  system {
                      screensaver {
                          my_custom_screensaver
                      }
                  } 
                  

                  and then ask the computer to configure itself that way. This means that you can easily spin up a new machine with all the same programs and configuration just by sending a single text file to that machine, and than you can easily refer to your configuration and see how things are set up. It's all in one place.

                  In addition, NixOS provides something called NixOps which allows you to provision servers declaratively - kind of like Kubernetes but without the vendor lock-in or required containerization.

                  5 votes
                2. DataWraith
                  Link Parent
                  Not the parent, but the NixOS manual has many examples on how to configure services (e.g. Web server, Backups, etc.) in NixOS. Using an ancillary tool called home-manager, you can also manage your...

                  Not the parent, but the NixOS manual has many examples on how to configure services (e.g. Web server, Backups, etc.) in NixOS.

                  Using an ancillary tool called home-manager, you can also manage your dotfiles, which is neat. I'm still in the process of converting over to NixOS and home-manager, but this repository, which contains someone's entire config, is/was very helpful while learning. If you want to poke around, the hosts/ folder contains the configuration for different machines, while the common/ folder has most of the actual program configuration.

                  2 votes
            2. vord
              Link Parent
              OpenSUSE Tumbleweed has snapperd, which takes snapshots before each install/upgrade. If something breaks, you boot into a readonly snapshot, verify it works, and run a flashback command. It works...

              OpenSUSE Tumbleweed has snapperd, which takes snapshots before each install/upgrade.

              If something breaks, you boot into a readonly snapshot, verify it works, and run a flashback command.

              It works exceptionally well, and is a killer feature IMO.

              4 votes
        2. 0d_billie
          Link Parent
          I haven't watched the video, but speaking from experience, dependencies on Linux (particularly with 3rd-party, closed source software) can get super weird. Back when they had native Linux support,...

          I haven't watched the video, but speaking from experience, dependencies on Linux (particularly with 3rd-party, closed source software) can get super weird. Back when they had native Linux support, I tried installing Guitar Pro, and was horrified to discover that two of the package's dependencies were sudo and gksu, and it wanted to remove them to proceed with the installation. Eventually I figured out that it was because of a dumb requirement to use the 32-bit package for gksu, and I had a 64-bit system, so it was trying to remove those (but not attempting to re-install them?) to make the software work.
          If I remember rightly, Steam is 32-bit software, and (again, not having watched the video) a similar thing probably happened here, I imagine: dependencies on a few random 32-bit packages which weren't available because (presumably) Linus used a 64-bit system.

          Edit: Oh I just scrolled down and saw that /u/mtset provided the same explanation :D

          7 votes
    2. [23]
      nothis
      Link Parent
      I don't get it, how can "sudo apt-get install steam" possibly trigger a removal of your entire GUI? How is that even an option? It should have said it's incompatible (which is weird enough since...

      I don't get it, how can "sudo apt-get install steam" possibly trigger a removal of your entire GUI? How is that even an option? It should have said it's incompatible (which is weird enough since it's advertised as supporting Steam) and instruct you to first uninstall pop-desktop manually (god knows there's enough other stuff you're supposed to do manually).

      6 votes
      1. [22]
        mtset
        Link Parent
        It wasn't intentional, it was a bug in the way steam's dependencies were specified. Steam wants 32-bit versions of a bunch of libraries that are 64-bit for everything else, and one of those...

        It wasn't intentional, it was a bug in the way steam's dependencies were specified. Steam wants 32-bit versions of a bunch of libraries that are 64-bit for everything else, and one of those libraries was marked as incompatible with the 64-bit version, which is needed for most other software.

        And again, to be clear, this is an acknowledged bug that was fixed quite quickly. We can't demand that all software is bug-free and demand rapid updates and broad compatibility. Indeed there are OSes out there that focus on "no bugs" to the exclusion of all else, but they are not very consumer friendly!


        Since I can't reply to your other post:

        Okay, let's break this down.

        Steam depends on, say, my_gpu_lib:32-bit. That's not negotiable. Many parts of the GUI depend on my_gpu_lib:64-bit because it's a 64-bit computer.

        The bug is that someone marked my_gpu_lib:32 as incompatible with my_gpu_lib:64. This is the bug.

        Now when you say "Install steam and all it's dependencies", the package manager says, "well we can't have both of these incompatible packages, so to fulfill this user's request I need to remove my_gpu_lib:64 and all the stuff that uses it. Let's ask if the user really wants to do that."

        A reasonable workflow colliding with a mislabeled package - not particularly heinous or unreasonable in my opinion?

        7 votes
        1. [14]
          fredo
          Link Parent
          I don't get why you're being so defensive. I have used Windows for, IDK, 30 years? There were errors of course, but not once was my system utterly and completely borked simply because I installed...

          I don't get why you're being so defensive. I have used Windows for, IDK, 30 years? There were errors of course, but not once was my system utterly and completely borked simply because I installed a well known program using the recommended path. That's a valid reason for outrage, and the regular user don't really care how the project is maintained. From their perspective, Windows (which came with the computer) is just as free as Linux. They most likely don't even know what a "library" is, and why should they? Honestly, this kind of response reinforces the notion that regular people should probably stay on Windows.

          9 votes
          1. [12]
            vektor
            Link Parent
            I don't think his system was irrecoverably borked. He still has his command prompt. He used that to bork it, he could use that to unbork it by just installing the desktop environment again. He did...

            I don't think his system was irrecoverably borked. He still has his command prompt. He used that to bork it, he could use that to unbork it by just installing the desktop environment again.

            He did not go the recommended path. He tried it, it didn't work, and he winged it. Not saying that's unreasonable. In fact it is perfectly reasonable. You can expect to run into some googleable issues every so often, so fair enough.

            My point isn't that Linus did it wrong. But he's in that awkward spot where he's competent enough to break things (whipping out the terminal) but not competent enough to understand how to not break it. Yes, that spot shouldn't exist, I agree. But I can also convince myself, if I squint real hard, that most people would actually never get there as part of a normal "user journey" - they'd learn about the pitfalls and the bit of under-the-hood-magic they need to know as they go, before things get to that point.

            There's also something in here about how Linus basically looked at the most glaring case of a "do not try this at home" warning and went "huh, another hoop to jump through". I looked at that prompt and went "oh shit, what is going on?". Some of that is on the OS not being clear about what this warning was about. Some of it is also on other OSes putting ridiculous warnings in places where they don't belong and conditioning users to ignore them.

            7 votes
            1. [11]
              fredo
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              If you're not a computer nerd, the prompt is very much the end of the line. You're talking like someone that is knowledgeable about Linux. That is not what the video is about. You are not the...

              If you're not a computer nerd, the prompt is very much the end of the line. You're talking like someone that is knowledgeable about Linux. That is not what the video is about. You are not the target audience.

              There should be no prompt whatsoever which contained the option "destroy my system". And yes, for most users, a system without a DE is very much borked.

              Linus merely reproduced what any gamer would do.

              And using apt is very much a standard way to install packages.

              7 votes
              1. Flashynuff
                Link Parent
                While I get your point that it's a huge UX fail Linus to be able to get to that prompt from the installer GUI, I think that option would always need to be there for the people who need it, and it...

                There should be no prompt whatsoever which contained the option "destroy my system".

                While I get your point that it's a huge UX fail Linus to be able to get to that prompt from the installer GUI, I think that option would always need to be there for the people who need it, and it would always be possible for someone sufficiently determined to blunder their way into the same spot unless the OS completely removes the command line.

                Once you get to the command line and start pasting commands from the internet without knowing what they do all bets are off. It's like opening your car's hood and starting to take apart random things.

                I think the biggest thing that would help here is for the state of Linux / Pop OS help resources & documentation to get better. There's too many answers or guides that don't adequately explain the impact of technical solutions to common problems.

                9 votes
              2. [2]
                vord
                Link Parent
                This is very much the problem. Computers are ubiquitous, but people who learn to actually use them are deemed 'computer nerds.' Bring able to recognize what a conflict is, and knowing whether to...

                If you're not a computer nerd, the prompt is very much the end of the line.

                This is very much the problem. Computers are ubiquitous, but people who learn to actually use them are deemed 'computer nerds.'

                Bring able to recognize what a conflict is, and knowing whether to proceed or not, should be a basic requirement for using the most powerful tool humankind has made to date.

                4 votes
                1. fredo
                  Link Parent
                  It really shouldn't and won't. You think that because that's your area of expertise. I really don't think my 70-year-old mother should be expected to type commands on a terminal. Or even my...

                  It really shouldn't and won't. You think that because that's your area of expertise.

                  I really don't think my 70-year-old mother should be expected to type commands on a terminal. Or even my 30-year-old, technology averse sister.

                  8 votes
              3. [7]
                vektor
                Link Parent
                But it isn't in this case? POP has a GUI tool to do that, which errored on him. Yes, you can use apt to do it, but that GUI is the default way of doing it. Hell, I'll have you know I learned my...

                And using apt is very much a standard away to install packages.

                But it isn't in this case? POP has a GUI tool to do that, which errored on him. Yes, you can use apt to do it, but that GUI is the default way of doing it. Hell, I'll have you know I learned my linux fu on arch and nowadays I still use the manjaro GUI tool to install stuff. That Pop tool, as far as I can tell, has no option of "destroy my system" - in fact, it failed to install steam, as it noticed things were going in a bad direction. As for whether that prompt should exist, I think that's entirely normal. A system that is so much of a walled garden that it can prevent that is either limited in some ways for expert users (e.g. lacking customization) or is so advanced that it solves the halting problem to figure out whether the command you're trying to run is going to break it or customize it.

                Linus merely reproduced what any gamer would do.

                That I can agree with 100%. He also got quite unlucky to run into the issue he did.

                3 votes
                1. [2]
                  Tardigrade
                  Link Parent
                  I know this isn't the point but the pop GUI installer is crap and freezes so damn often I've given up using it and just use the command line instead

                  I know this isn't the point but the pop GUI installer is crap and freezes so damn often I've given up using it and just use the command line instead

                  2 votes
                  1. admicos
                    Link Parent
                    i know this is even more not the point but I never used any GUI package manager that worked without freezing or being clunky otherwise, a possible exception being synaptic, that has a clunkier UIs...

                    i know this is even more not the point but I never used any GUI package manager that worked without freezing or being clunky otherwise, a possible exception being synaptic, that has a clunkier UIs definitely meant for advanced users

                    2 votes
                2. [4]
                  fredo
                  Link Parent
                  Sorry, but I find it very hard to believe that any of this was even remotely user error. Your comment sounds like the standard position of the computer aficionado that is either unable or...

                  Sorry, but I find it very hard to believe that any of this was even remotely user error. Your comment sounds like the standard position of the computer aficionado that is either unable or unwilling to understand the needs of a regular user.

                  And I love Linux, it powers all my computers...

                  1 vote
                  1. [3]
                    vektor
                    Link Parent
                    No, I don't think it's user error. You seem to misunderstand me. Linus did, at every step of the way, the reasonable thing. It's also a chain of super unlucky circumstances, imo. He was super...

                    No, I don't think it's user error. You seem to misunderstand me. Linus did, at every step of the way, the reasonable thing. It's also a chain of super unlucky circumstances, imo. He was super unlucky to run into this when he did in the first place. First package he installs, and it errors on the GUI, then rm -rf's his system when he does the advertised solution. Then he's in that awkward spot I described: Most people will "skip" that step by not being comfortable with a CLI to begin with, then slowly learning what will work and what sets of alarm bells. Does that make sense? A regular gamer with no prior experience would not touch the terminal. Maybe they'd slowly grow more comfortable with it, while also learning what they shouldn't do with it. Linus is in that awkward spot between a complete newb whom you can take by the hand and show around and they won't touch anything they shouldn't, and a competent user who knows what they're doing. It's super hard to do UX design that treats all three groups well. I'm not saying it'd be a breeze to a normal gamer on a normal day, but this is an uncharacteristically nuclear outcome.

                    Your comment sounds like the standard position of the computer aficionado that is either unable or unwilling to understand the needs of a regular user.

                    No, I don't think that's true at all. I can fully acknowledge that linux UX is shit in so many places. I'm just not sure Linus' experience is representative of why it is shit, what with it being quite improbable.

                    4 votes
                    1. [2]
                      fredo
                      Link Parent
                      I really think a regular PC gamer would probably do just what Linus did. They wouldn't learn the terminal, but they would blindly copy and paste a solution found on Google, just like he did....

                      I really think a regular PC gamer would probably do just what Linus did. They wouldn't learn the terminal, but they would blindly copy and paste a solution found on Google, just like he did. Because they're used to doing stuff like that on Windows... Like switching a DLL or blindly changing values on the Windows Registry.

                      4 votes
                      1. admicos
                        Link Parent
                        there is an entire adware industry behind "downloading windows dlls" shown on error messages and whatnot, they don't provide a specific version or redirect you to the true downloads (of things...

                        there is an entire adware industry behind "downloading windows dlls" shown on error messages and whatnot, they don't provide a specific version or redirect you to the true downloads (of things like various c++ runtimes) or anything, just say "here is something.dll" do you want to quick download or slow download, and of course one of the options installs some random exe along with the ""needed"" dll file.

                        in short: i totally believe new windows converts would blindly copy paste unknown terminal commands if they thought it would solve their problems

                        6 votes
          2. mtset
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            I don't really understand what response you would find appropriate. It seems to me the options are: "Yeah this sucks." (completely information free) "No, this is Just How It Works" (content free...

            I don't really understand what response you would find appropriate. It seems to me the options are:

            • "Yeah this sucks." (completely information free)
            • "No, this is Just How It Works" (content free and condescending, and not true)
            • "This was a problem, here's why, now it's fixed." (What I said.)

            EDIT: Also, wait, the heck? I wasn't being defensive, I responded to a direct question about how this kind of thing was technically possible.

            3 votes
        2. [7]
          nothis
          Link Parent
          It calms me to at least understand the problem but still, my worry is not about fixing the bug. It's about a bug like this literally being possible. It seems obvious that libraries needed to run...

          It calms me to at least understand the problem but still, my worry is not about fixing the bug. It's about a bug like this literally being possible. It seems obvious that libraries needed to run the current environment should be off-limits to new programs and would have to be installed from the outside (for example, requiring you to boot into a special command line mode). Imagine this happened to you on a computer you actually have already set up and used for months, that is critical to your daily workflow.

          I can now imagine the reply to this being that it's part of Linux' "philosophy" to always give you that level of control but then it's just another case of it being incompatible with average human beings. Because average human beings don't have time to spend 100+ hours learning Linux traps.

          4 votes
          1. [6]
            mtset
            Link Parent
            I think you're overestimating how often a bug like this occurs and how rarely actually users want to do things like uninstall the current environment. It's worth noting that doing so does not...

            It seems obvious that libraries needed to run the current environment should be off-limits to new programs and would have to be installed from the outside (for example, requiring you to boot into a special command line mode).

            I think you're overestimating how often a bug like this occurs and how rarely actually users want to do things like uninstall the current environment. It's worth noting that doing so does not prevent the machine from starting or working. You can just ask the computer to reinstall the things it uninstalled.

            $ apt install broken-package
            apt: do you want to fuck your shit up? [y/N]: Y
            ... reboot and oh dear what happened
            $ apt install ubuntu-desktop
            

            There's definitely an argument to be made that there should be a MacOS-like SIP mode where the system guards certain parts of it's configuration pretty jealously, but please do remember that in this case it actually did warn the user about what was going to happen in two different ways!

            In addition, I think you underestimate how often someone might want to do something like this on purpose. Just the other day, I decided I wanted to use KDE instead of GNOME, and the entire process for doing the switch consisted of:

            $ apt install kubuntu-desktop
            ...
            $ apt remove ubuntu-desktop
            

            Followed by logging out and back in - not even a reboot! That's a feature, not a bug, imo.

            Because average human beings don't have time to spend 100+ hours learning Linux traps.

            Forgive me for perhaps coming off as flippant, but again, the system warned the user twice that something bad would happen as a result of this action, and it definitely did not permanently break the system.

            Again I can see the argument for maybe changing that behavior in a "we don't trust the user" mode, but... 100 hours seems, frankly, pulled out of your ass.

            5 votes
            1. [5]
              nothis
              Link Parent
              I totally get it on a technical level and I don't think there's any problem with this being part of a workflow for professionals or enthusiasts. It's just... this is the biggest tech youtuber...

              I totally get it on a technical level and I don't think there's any problem with this being part of a workflow for professionals or enthusiasts. It's just... this is the biggest tech youtuber trying Linux, really trying to give it a chance and I just refuse to believe it's some astronomical "coincidence" that he encounters a bug that basically nukes his GUI environment. This absolutely rings familiar and while I never encountered this exact bug, it feels very much part of the Linux way of treating users. I'm sorry, but Linux deserves this moment, it is representative.

              I would like Microsoft, Google and Apple to have more competition on the OS market, I'd love for that competition to come from a FOSS project. But here we are, having a problem with usability and Linux enthusiasts are trying to drown it in technical excuses. It's disheartening to see all those easily learnable lessons and the utter refusal to learn anything from it.

              Basically, I consider this a psychological issue that is treated as a technical one. This is a high-concept problem and people are arguing over minute details of implementation specifics. The missing concept isn't "SIP mode" but actually looking at non-Linux-users' experience trying to use the platform and working backwards from there. Sitting down with 100 non-techy users and watching them struggle, taking notes, trying to find problem patterns. Starting with implementing goals like "make it impossible for a user to break this base set of features", that would be a huge relief since fear of breaking shit is one of the main barriers of entry for new tech. This could improve so many first impressions and bring people in. It's maybe 100,000 hours of work, which is absolutely peanuts in the grand scheme of things yet apparently no one in the history of Linux distros has ever attempted it.

              Or maybe they all tried and failed miserably and it's impossible in a FOSS project? I doubt that because there absolutely are examples of this being done much, much better (I'm primarily thinking of Firefox).

              4 votes
              1. mtset
                Link Parent
                This is a long one. I originally wrote, "... a long one, sorry," but I'm not. I put a lot of work into this reply and I would appreciate it if you'd at least skim it. Technical Excuses I want to...
                • Exemplary

                This is a long one. I originally wrote, "... a long one, sorry," but I'm not. I put a lot of work into this reply and I would appreciate it if you'd at least skim it.

                Technical Excuses

                I want to get this out of the way first, as a personal note.

                But here we are, having a problem with usability and Linux enthusiasts are trying to drown it in technical excuses.

                I am really, really sorry I've come across this way, because I've been trying my best to put in pretty much every post something to the effect of, "this is a real and serious bug, and it's a mistake that the Pop!_OS devs should not have been able to make." Here's a smattering of those:

                • "it was a bug in the way steam's dependencies were specified".
                • "The Pop devs shouldn't have committed a bug"
                • "What happened here is that a bug was committed to the Pop repos (bad, a failure on Pop's part)"
                • "it's definitely a bug in the Steam package"
                • "it should have never been an issue"

                I don't know how to more vehemently say this, other than, I guess, this. My opinion of the root cause of this problem is: The Pop!_OS team at System76 fucked up in pushing a broken version of the Steam package to the Pop!_OS repository. My recommendation for remediation is: They should put a system in place to ensure that package dependencies are verified not to be in conflict with the default system installation, especially for packages with known-weird dependencies like Steam.

                I am not trying to make technical excuses - I am trying to explain, technically, what happened. I am not the Pop!_OS team and I do not have the ability to implement remediation for this problem; however, I do have the ability to explain why this is a very unlikely circumstance to happen ever again, which I do believe is true. You said that was at least somewhat useful, and I'm sorry I can't be more helpful.

                The question I have for you is: what response would you consider acceptable from me? This is not a gotchya; I want to improve my ability to communicate about issues like this and welcome feedback. As I see it, I had four options.

                • Say nothing. As someone who uses Linux on the desktop for work and play, and has for over half my life, this feels irresponsible in a thread full of incorrect (reasonable, but incorrect!) assumptions.
                • Say, "Yeah, that sucks. This bug is good evidence that non-technical users should not use free desktops." I don't believe that.
                • Say, "This is Just The Way It Is. Deal with it." That's condescending, content-free, and also not what I believe.
                • Explain the technical nature of the bug and try to communicate why it is unlikely to recur. This is what I did.

                Is there an option I'm missing? Did I not execute option four well?

                That aside, let's move on to what seems to be to be the core point of this reply.

                The Utter Refusal to Learn

                You say that you "consider this a psychological issue" and that the "missing concept is actually looking at non-Linux-users' experience trying to use the platform and working backwards from there." You go on to say that "Sitting down with 100 non-techy users and watching them struggle, taking notes, trying to find problem patterns [...] could improve so many first impressions and bring people in."

                It sounds to me - and tell me if I'm wrong - like you don't think this kind of work has been done on any Linux-based free desktop; you even say that"apparently no one in the history of Linux distros has ever attempted it," where I believe "it" = "starting with implementing goals like...".

                That is simply untrue. Many projects and organizations are involved in building the modern free desktop ecosystem, and almost all of them have been working towards this goal for years.

                One of the most common criticisms of the GNOME desktop, which Pop!_OS uses, is that it keeps removing features that power users like in order to make things simpler for new users! One of the GNOME project's stated goals with the GNOME Shell project, a huge undertaking that has defined the project for over a decade (since 2008), is to:

                • Apply the lessons of the past and present. We have a real opportunity with GNOME 3. We said up front that we are going to do a new GNOME, clean the slate, re-evaluate what it is we are trying to do, what a desktop is, what a personal computer is and what it should be offering.

                They broke with convention and angered many longtime users in order to, among other things, "support a range of abilities from beginner to advanced - while optimizing for intermediates. Be safe and forgiving, flexible and smart. Reduce complexity and strive for transparency."

                In order to do that, they heavily engaged with the community of existing users, conducted user research, and compiled hundreds of pages of work on usability and user testing.

                Ubuntu, the operating system project which first moved desktop Linux towards the mainstream, has been doing formal usability studies since at least 2008.

                On a broader scale, various respected bloggers and personalities have written at great length about how to improve the usability of the ecosystem at various points in time. An example, part 1 of a 4 part series.

                Overall, to be frank, it sounds like you think people have just up and decided they don't care about this, when in fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

                One Hundred Thousand Hours of Engineering Time

                The statement "It's maybe 100,000 hours of work, which is absolutely peanuts in the grand scheme of things" really struck a nerve with me, because I think you may overestimate the resources available to projects like this.

                Just to ballpark, in my first engineering job out of college, I made $75,000 a year. That comes out to about $37.50 an hour, and is, frankly, pitiful for the current US tech industry. Even if everyone being paid to work on these projects was doing so at this extremely low rate, you're asking for a collective commitment of almost $4 million just for engineering time, leaving aside the many other complexities of running a gigantic software project.

                The GNOME foundation's total income for the 2019-2020 year was $915,646, according to their report; for 2020, it was about $10,000 more. The vast majority is spent on engineering, but they also need to run conferences (GUADEC is, every year, a huge boon for bugfixes in almost every project under the GNOME umbrella), events to help recruit new volunteers, and internships to train new contributors. There are also administrative and systems expenses, which are non-negotiable and pretty trivial; I suggest you look at the report.

                That's one of the biggest contributors to open source in the world. You're asking them to spend, at an extremely conservative estimate, four years' income of their entire organization on a single goal, essentially pausing all paid development of bugfixes, security patches, and their existing roadmap. No, I haven't factored Canonical and System76 into this, but remember that this is a very conservative estimate of cost. I also haven't factored Red Hat and other server-focused companies in because they have no real incentive to improve desktop Linux, and only occasionally do so except by submitting kernel patches (good, but irrelevant here) and funding GNOME.

                So yeah, you're right that "[100,000 hours of eng. time] is absolutely peanuts in the grand scheme of things," but this isn't the grand scheme of things. This is a cost-constrained, pluralistic effort that, despite everything, has managed to make a competent desktop operating system, supporting hardware whose manufacturers are often actively hostile to its existence.

                Conclusion

                You end with the following, which I agree with in a sense:

                maybe they all tried and failed miserably and it's impossible in a FOSS project? I doubt that because there absolutely are examples of this being done much, much better (I'm primarily thinking of Firefox).

                Firefox, LibreOffice, Krita, Open Broadcaster Software (OBS), Blender... all of these are projects whose surface area, except perhaps Firefox, is far smaller than an entire operating system supporting most desktop and laptop computers (even Apple doesn't do that!), and whose supporting foundations have far more money than do the folks working on the core of the GUI experience.

                If you want the free desktop to be as polished as the best open source software out there while also remaining truly free, accessible, and with features and hardware support on par with commercial offerings, I suggest donating some money to the GNOME foundation.

                Otherwise, I would really appreciate it if you would look into whether people are actually trying to improve their software before talking about being so incredibly hostile towards that effort. Coming out with statements like "an utter refusal to learn" and "they all tried and failed miserably", with no evidence or effort to actually investigate that claim, is really disrespectful. People ask my why I get so heated in discussions about this, and that kind of language is why.

                FIN


                An Aside on Volunteer Labor

                I have not factored in, here, volunteer labor. It's worth noting that the person who caught the issue Linus ran into was a volunteer. However, for the kind of focused user testing and UX design you're talking about, I don't think it's fair to assume that volunteers should bear that burden. People who work on stuff for free are going to work on things that impact them and their friends, or things they're technically interested in; this is good, because it means they're intrinsically motivated, but it does mean we can't tell them what to work on unless they ask.

                So, perhaps you can say that some of the cost I talk about could be cut by relying on volunteers. That's probably true. But it's not something the people I assume you're aiming this message at - the professional maintainers - can control beyond lowering the barriers to contribution, which they already spend a lot of time and money on.

                14 votes
              2. [3]
                streblo
                Link Parent
                These are two incompatible goals — which is totally OK! Not everything has to be for everyone. For example something like MacOS or Windows might start with a set of high level goals for software...

                These are two incompatible goals — which is totally OK! Not everything has to be for everyone.

                For example something like MacOS or Windows might start with a set of high level goals for software installation, example: installing software should never break a users system.

                Linux starts with a lower level goal: provide users a method to install packages which may have dependencies and possibly conflict with other packages.

                Of course you can build abstractions on top of that to make things more user friendly but unless you prevent people from using the package manager you’re not going to stop people from the possibility of borking their system.

                3 votes
                1. [2]
                  nothis
                  Link Parent
                  It's okay to prevent people from using the package manager.

                  It's okay to prevent people from using the package manager.

                  1 vote
                  1. mtset
                    Link Parent
                    It's worth mentioning that there is actually a lot of work around making extremely self-contained installations of complex programs like Steam, in the form of both Flatpak and Snap. These are...

                    It's worth mentioning that there is actually a lot of work around making extremely self-contained installations of complex programs like Steam, in the form of both Flatpak and Snap. These are solutions that are not entirely ready for the prime time, but the effort is ongoing and some really user-focused distros like Elementary OS already use them.

                    4 votes
  5. cstby
    Link
    I use Pop_OS! as my daily driver. I like it, but I've encountered a lot of Linux weirdness with it too. Even the "user friendly" distros require some research and elbow grease to keep them working...

    I use Pop_OS! as my daily driver. I like it, but I've encountered a lot of Linux weirdness with it too.

    Even the "user friendly" distros require some research and elbow grease to keep them working smoothly. For the average user who wants their OS to "just work," it's not a good fit.

    8 votes
  6. [3]
    streblo
    (edited )
    Link
    I run Arch on my desktop and I love it. I keep a Windows boot around for the odd thing but honestly the last time I booted into it was almost a year ago for Cyberpunk. I don't think I'll ever...

    I run Arch on my desktop and I love it. I keep a Windows boot around for the odd thing but honestly the last time I booted into it was almost a year ago for Cyberpunk. I don't think I'll ever leave the Linux ecosystem, it's just too powerful. The other day I was playing around with a script that muxes my microphone input and analog output using sox, pipes it into ffmpeg and captures my desktop at a certain bitrate to let me record training videos for my workplace and I was amazed at how friggin' cool it was to just do all that in a 20 line bash script.

    But that's kinda the thing -- I'm someone who works on linux platforms all day and enjoys it. I don't think you need to be in my position but there's no way I would recommend Linux to anyone who's not at least interested in getting their hands dirty. There's just no practical benefits for most people.

    Edit: Because I know someone will ask:
    #!/usr/bin/env bash
    
    INRES="2560x1440"
    DISPLAY=:0.0+1440,591
    OUTRES="2560x1440"
    
    FPS="30"
    BITRATE="1M"
    
    MONITOR=$(pactl list | egrep -A3 '^(\*\*\* )?Source #' | \
        grep 'Name: .*00\.4\.analog-stereo\.monitor$' | awk '{print $NF}' | tail -n1)
    echo "set-source-mute ${MONITOR} false" | pacmd >/dev/null
    
    MIC=$(pactl list | egrep -A3 '^(\*\*\* )?Source #' | \
        grep 'Name: .*2-00\.analog-stereo$' | awk '{print $NF}' | tail -n1)
    echo "set-source-mute ${MIC} false" | pacmd >/dev/null
    
    if [[ -f output.mkv ]]; then
        rm output.mkv
    fi
    
    sox --multi-threaded -t raw -e si -b 16 -r 44100 -c 2 "|parec --rate=44100 --channels=2 -d $MONITOR" \
    	             -t raw -e si -b 16 -r 44100 -v 4 -c 2 "|parec --rate=44100 --channels=2 -d $MIC" \
    	             -m -p gain rate 44100 \
    	             | ffmpeg -f x11grab -s $INRES -r $FPS -i $DISPLAY -f sox -i - -ac 2 -acodec  pcm_s16le -vcodec libx264 -threads 0 output.mkv
    

    You'll have to adjust for your monitor setup/resolution (indexed from 0,0 @ monitor 0) and make sure it's grabbing the correct sources/sinks from pactl but other than that it should just work.

    8 votes
    1. [2]
      mat
      Link Parent
      I have a couple of very non-techie but generally pretty smart friends whose slightly-too-old-to-run-Windows-nicely laptops I put onto Ubuntu+Gnome a few years ago and left with instructions "if...

      there's no way I would recommend Linux to anyone who's not at least interested in getting their hands dirty

      I have a couple of very non-techie but generally pretty smart friends whose slightly-too-old-to-run-Windows-nicely laptops I put onto Ubuntu+Gnome a few years ago and left with instructions "if anything doesn't work, google the error message and if that doesn't work, message me" and I've had almost no support requests from them, although I did get the occasional "I had a problem and I had to do some scary stuff in a terminal but I fixed it myself!". Meanwhile my Mum regularly messages me with Windows support requests which I can't help her with because the last Windows I used any amount was 2000.

      For a lot of people as long as there's a web browser and maybe some light image editing and office stuff, they're fine on linux. Until something breaks, of course - but same goes for Windows. At least I can usually remote fix linux stuff over the phone.

      6 votes
      1. vord
        Link Parent
        It's a lot easier to instruct a user to "Type this exact phrase" than "Click through these 3 dozen GUI menus that you've never seen before". GUIs are not easier than CLI, just harder to randomly...

        At least I can usually remote fix linux stuff over the phone.

        It's a lot easier to instruct a user to "Type this exact phrase" than "Click through these 3 dozen GUI menus that you've never seen before".

        GUIs are not easier than CLI, just harder to randomly figure out how they work by randomly using it. That's what the man pages and --help is for.

        2 votes
  7. [5]
    riQQ
    Link
    This is also being discussed on reddit here.

    This is also being discussed on reddit here.

    5 votes
    1. [4]
      fredo
      Link Parent
      And... It's locked. I'm not surprised.

      And... It's locked. I'm not surprised.

      4 votes
      1. [3]
        Apos
        Link Parent
        I'm not sure I understand this comment. Did you have an issue with the thread? The discussions looked reasonable and the reason for locking it too.

        I'm not sure I understand this comment. Did you have an issue with the thread? The discussions looked reasonable and the reason for locking it too.

        2 votes
        1. fredo
          Link Parent
          No issue. It just seemed predictable that people would misbehave in the comments.

          No issue. It just seemed predictable that people would misbehave in the comments.

          3 votes
        2. [2]
          Comment deleted by author
          Link Parent
          1. Apos
            Link Parent
            That's not what I see in this case though, there's even this thread that's on the front page right now and it spreads positivity. The mod even states the harassment isn't coming out of r/linux...

            That's not what I see in this case though, there's even this thread that's on the front page right now and it spreads positivity. The mod even states the harassment isn't coming out of r/linux even though they locked it.

            The general sense I get from the discussions on the sub can be summed up pretty well with this comment:

            This Linus challenge will be nothing but a positive change for the Linux desktop in general. People from around the world go through the same issues and struggles that Linus went through to get Linux to just work (this is nothing new really, as I've gone through it for the last 4 years), but they don't have the luxury of 14 million subs on YouTube to show it to. This, IMHO, will put positive pressure on the Linux developers/community to improve the user facing parts of Linux. I've been waiting for a long time for something like this to happen, actually, and I am thankful that Linus decided to do it.

            3 votes
  8. [9]
    Wes
    Link
    Title suggestion: use their full names. At first glance it's easy to assume it's Linus Torvalds due to his relationship to Linux.

    Title suggestion: use their full names. At first glance it's easy to assume it's Linus Torvalds due to his relationship to Linux.

    6 votes
    1. [8]
      fredo
      Link Parent
      Nah, the opposite is more likely to happen. Torvalds is much less famous than Sebastian.

      Nah, the opposite is more likely to happen. Torvalds is much less famous than Sebastian.

      2 votes
      1. [3]
        mat
        Link Parent
        I assumed it was Torvalds for about half a second before I thought that was ridiculous as he's clearly been dailying his own kernel for quite some time now. I have no idea who the other Linus is.

        I assumed it was Torvalds for about half a second before I thought that was ridiculous as he's clearly been dailying his own kernel for quite some time now. I have no idea who the other Linus is.

        8 votes
        1. [2]
          Liru
          Link Parent
          Honestly, even with the LTT moniker, there was something in the back of my mind that said that it was Linus Torvalds. However, that was solely because a long time ago, I suggested to someone part...

          Honestly, even with the LTT moniker, there was something in the back of my mind that said that it was Linus Torvalds. However, that was solely because a long time ago, I suggested to someone part of Linus Media Group to get Linus T. to do an April Fools video on a similar topic, where Linus T. shows how to run Linux on the desktop, and everyone treats him as if he was Linus S. and not break character. Even get him to drop a graphics card in the middle of the video or something.

          7 votes
          1. admicos
            Link Parent
            i know this thread might be getting off topic but now that you've said it i want that to happen too

            i know this thread might be getting off topic but now that you've said it i want that to happen too

            4 votes
      2. [2]
        cfabbro
        Link Parent
        I added LTT to the title just to make it a bit more clear. @Wes

        I added LTT to the title just to make it a bit more clear. @Wes

        5 votes
        1. Wes
          Link Parent
          That works for me. Cheers.

          That works for me. Cheers.

          1 vote
      3. [2]
        moocow1452
        Link Parent
        Split the difference, ask @stu2b50 to tag the post "Linus Sebastian" since it's already established?

        Split the difference, ask @stu2b50 to tag the post "Linus Sebastian" since it's already established?

        1 vote
        1. cfabbro
          Link Parent
          Done. And I added Luke to the tags too.

          Done. And I added Luke to the tags too.

          1 vote