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Thoughts on the Linux Daily Driver Challenge

I don't get triggered often, but honestly the Linux Daily Driver challenge videos triggered me enough to go and make an account and post about it. So kudos to Linus and Luke for the engaging content.

 

A bit of a backstory on me - I'm not a programmer, I don't even work in tech - I'm just a regular dude who has used Linux on and off since 2008 when I was in secondary school. I first cut my teeth on Ubuntu 8.04. I did find terminal incredibly intimidating at first, but after a few weeks of tinkering I got to like it. In fact, the main reason I continued coming back to Linux was the fact that I could type in a terminal command to install something or to run updates. The most irritating aspect of Windows, for me, is Windows update and its tendency to break and give completely unhelpful error messages. Error messages in Linux just *make sense* when you read them in terminal. But then, I have been using Linux (despite not being a techie) on and off since 2008. I found it interesting that Linus and Luke have been so committed to not using terminal. I currently daily drive EndeavourOS which is based on Arch Linux, but lacks its rough edges. Unfortunately, even n00b distros like Ubuntu demand a certain willingness to use terminal. This is because the "average Linux user" is at least willing to type in (or copy and paste) "sudo apt update && apt upgrade" (ironically the "intermediate" EndeavourOS has one command for this - "yay"). Thus, most distros are designed with people in mind who are either somewhat advanced in their IT knowledge or are at least willing to do what it takes to get that knowledge.

 

The cost of using Linux is that, as Linus and Luke discovered, it rarely works perfectly out of the box - especially when there are peripherals with proprietary drivers involved. The user is expected to invest a day or two putting in place the finishing touches. The benefit is that Linux is usually far less resource intensive, it works better with older hardware (and let's face it - most people expect to get at least 3 years out of a computer) and you get to take complete ownership and control of your machine (which is also why it doesn't work as well out of the box). Because you are expected to invest in the finishing touches, the Machine looks and feels the way YOU want it to. 

 

Now I get it - not everyone cares about getting under the hood, or wants to for that matter. But still, I don't expect LTT's videos to fundamentally change much about how user friendly Linux distros are to new users, as nice and all as that would be.  You can't really expect the same level of support from hobbyist developers as you get from a commercially licensed OS like Windows - it's just unreasonable to ask for.  People forget that Microsoft has both paid developers and a massive marketing team to help them design an OS that can work out of the box for most users most of the time - but even they don't get everything right. For Linux to match that, it would require a commercial Linux distribution - which is inherently at odds with its free and open source model. The closest equivalents to that in the Linux space are Valve with SteamOS and Google with ChromeOS, but they both serve very niche audiences - and we're STILL waiting for that Steam Deck to land.  

 

Honestly, it is a miracle really that Linux works as well as it does, and is a testament to the awesome community that backs it. However, it is not for the faint of heart and getting comfortable with Linux means breaking your machine a few times, like Linus did, so that you figure out how it works. 

 

I love if by the end of the challenge, Linus and Luke discover a new found love for tinkering - but I'm realistic enough to admit that they're probably better off switching back to Windows. 

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3 hours ago, thereillywriter said:

I don't get triggered often, but honestly the Linux Daily Driver challenge videos triggered me enough to go and make an account and post about it. So kudos to Linus and Luke for the engaging content.

 

A bit of a backstory on me - I'm not a programmer, I don't even work in tech - I'm just a regular dude who has used Linux on and off since 2008 when I was in secondary school. I first cut my teeth on Ubuntu 8.04. I did find terminal incredibly intimidating at first, but after a few weeks of tinkering I got to like it. In fact, the main reason I continued coming back to Linux was the fact that I could type in a terminal command to install something or to run updates. The most irritating aspect of Windows, for me, is Windows update and its tendency to break and give completely unhelpful error messages. Error messages in Linux just *make sense* when you read them in terminal. But then, I have been using Linux (despite not being a techie) on and off since 2008. I found it interesting that Linus and Luke have been so committed to not using terminal. I currently daily drive EndeavourOS which is based on Arch Linux, but lacks its rough edges. Unfortunately, even n00b distros like Ubuntu demand a certain willingness to use terminal. This is because the "average Linux user" is at least willing to type in (or copy and paste) "sudo apt update && apt upgrade" (ironically the "intermediate" EndeavourOS has one command for this - "yay"). Thus, most distros are designed with people in mind who are either somewhat advanced in their IT knowledge or are at least willing to do what it takes to get that knowledge.

 

The cost of using Linux is that, as Linus and Luke discovered, it rarely works perfectly out of the box - especially when there are peripherals with proprietary drivers involved. The user is expected to invest a day or two putting in place the finishing touches. The benefit is that Linux is usually far less resource intensive, it works better with older hardware (and let's face it - most people expect to get at least 3 years out of a computer) and you get to take complete ownership and control of your machine (which is also why it doesn't work as well out of the box). Because you are expected to invest in the finishing touches, the Machine looks and feels the way YOU want it to. 

 

Now I get it - not everyone cares about getting under the hood, or wants to for that matter. But still, I don't expect LTT's videos to fundamentally change much about how user friendly Linux distros are to new users, as nice and all as that would be.  You can't really expect the same level of support from hobbyist developers as you get from a commercially licensed OS like Windows - it's just unreasonable to ask for.  People forget that Microsoft has both paid developers and a massive marketing team to help them design an OS that can work out of the box for most users most of the time - but even they don't get everything right. For Linux to match that, it would require a commercial Linux distribution - which is inherently at odds with its free and open source model. The closest equivalents to that in the Linux space are Valve with SteamOS and Google with ChromeOS, but they both serve very niche audiences - and we're STILL waiting for that Steam Deck to land.  

 

Honestly, it is a miracle really that Linux works as well as it does, and is a testament to the awesome community that backs it. However, it is not for the faint of heart and getting comfortable with Linux means breaking your machine a few times, like Linus did, so that you figure out how it works. 

 

I love if by the end of the challenge, Linus and Luke discover a new found love for tinkering - but I'm realistic enough to admit that they're probably better off switching back to Windows. 

For me, I'll admit that switching to Linux wasn't overnight either. As a former Windows power user going in, I kept dual booting for about 3 months until I got used the distro I was using fully. Luckily, I was using open source software while on Windows. So my transition was much easier.

 

But I've come to notice that more simplistic users (AKA like my mom, sister and nephew), they don't care as long as they see that Firefox icon. And for simple set ups, Linux does tend to work out of the box. At most, just avoid Nvidia and niche hardware you won't have to worry about a thing.

 

So, I'd say that the more complex a user's setup is while running Windows (Adobe/Autocad users and gamers tied to things (launchers) like MS's gamepass/Niche hardware; like GoXLR), the harder it will be for those people to use Linux. But for the people who just want to web browse, stream and do basic word documents, it's way easier (In my experience after installing Linux for them). And they were happy for the fact that they didn't have to buy another computer just to do what they wanted to do.

 

What I am trying to say is that Linus and Luke have their hands tied because they have certain hardware and software that simply won't work with Linux. So in the end, they will be stuck on Windows. And until manufacturers and software devs support Linux as though it is mainstream, that's how it will be. But for people not bound by these constraints that those manufacturers and software devs impose, they can use anything; yes, including Linux.

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