I have always been keenly interested in all things Linux (see my blog posts on the topic). I've spent countless hours trying to install Linux on my old laptop. But after almost a couple of years of trying, I've come to the conclusion that it's not meant to be. Now, I am formally dumping Linux until it is stable enough to be installed on any machine I install it on.
Here's the background. I have a 4 year old Sony VAIO PCG-K115Z. I first tried to install Ubuntu Linux on it in late 2006. It worked file until I upgraded. And when I say fine, I am ignoring things like missing support for WPA, incessant crashes, unsupported printers and more. Of course, this has been sorted in subsequent releases.
But upgrades brought new problems. On upgrading to the latest version (8.04 at the time of writing this post), I discovered that my laptop wont boot into Linux! After several frustrating hours of tinkering around, I finally headed over to forums only to find out that this was a bug in Linux that affected my kind of laptop (among a few others).
Frustrated, I moved over to Fedora9 and Fedora10 (also supposed to be used by Linus, the creator of Linux). But to my dismay I realized it too had the same problem. My next stop was OpenSUSE 11, But it too was with it's own set of problems (my laptop froze randomly) and I frankly did not have the patience to troubleshoot it!
At this stage, I feel I must mention that Microsoft Windows XP was happily running on this machine whenever I re-installed. Not only that it was wayyyy smoother than Linux. It is not surprising that it has remained my primary OS for years now.
In summary, after having spent close to 2 years in trying to adopt Linux as my main desktop OS I must say that I am pretty disappointed. I feel it will be quite a while until Linux can compete with desktop OS-es. I cant help but wonder that if a techie like me has a tough time getting Linux to work on my desktop, I see no chance for a non-techie to make that happen. For me Linux just doesn't work!
So as of today, I am dumping Linux in favour of Windows (until I can afford a Mac ;-)). I shall also stop promoting it to friends (especially non-techie ones) until I can find a release that "just works".
Good bye Linux!
Here are a few responses to some of the comments that have been posted to it's digg page.
>Here's a hint: If you go with hardware that is known to
> work flawless with Linux... chances are the system will
> work better than you expected.
I did not buy the hardware to specifically run Linux. I thought - if Windows can work so well, perhaps Linux can do better? But that wasn't to be. One of the points I've used when advocating Linux was that it can work just as well on old hardware. I believe there's a Freecycle movement that monitors the list for old hardware. Volunteers then install Linux on them and re-freecycles them. That's exactly what I mean by reclaiming old hardware!
I don't see a laptop bought 4 years ago as "old". And this isn't the first machine I've thrown at Linux. In the last 4 years I've installed and trouble-shot close quite a few desktop machines. These machines span all combinations of brands, makes, memory, cpu, etc. And I don't think I can say that Linux "just works" for any of them.
>"In recent news, some random guy stops using Linux" YAWN.
Yep, that's me :-) But you are forgetting to count the potential users that I will not be advocating Linux to :-P
Jokes apart, the point of this post is that if Linux doesn't address these issues, I wont be the last one to do this. After all, the techie crowd was never Linux's target audience!