What’s missing in Linux today

Seems like there’s always a new article about Linux rising to the top or failing. Year of the Linux Desktop, Linux has no market share and never will, etc, etc. Its seems that Linux both has solved every possible problem and has 110% market share while also having 0% market share and useless. Here are my thoughts on Linux being used to replace Windows in the enterprise based on my experience with it.

Wifi, still trouble (try using certain Ralink cards) but manageable and rarely a problem.

Office productivity is fine. OpenOffice LibreOffice (this name sucks but so does oracle so I’m divided) works. MS Office runs in wine but expect to pay for a commercial wine if you want multi user support. No serious issues here.

Printing, some just don’t work. But I’ve rarely encountered this. Many take some effort to work, but nothing beyond an entry level sys admin. Good enough for me.

LDAP support. If you’ve read this blog before you know there’s major issues here. It can be done. But with limitations. For example Windows lets you select your domain. You try and log in to a domain it waits for the domain to come up then you log in. You select local machine and it just does it without the need to wait. Linux….well nothing similar. I use Centrify Express but I have to choose between waiting (a long time at boot) for the domain connection to be made or just ignoring it and getting authentication errors (if credentials aren’t cached) when the computer is still connecting to the network and the domain. People expect this stuff to just work, since 2000 at least. A decade later and Linux can’t do it seamlessly.

File shares. Simple smb or nfs is easy yes. Want to put your home on nfs? Fine. WHO DOES THAT? It’s 2010 everyone uses laptops. People take the laptop outside and the home folder drops? This is not acceptable. I’m writing off NFS as useless on desktop computing. Windows deals with this with folder redirection. Your share folders act like mounted network drives until they are synced locally. When back online files get synced to the network. It just works as they say. I am looking into an old program called unison which seems to be able to sync folders. Also there is a program called sparkleshare that’s still in development that looks promising.  Both of these would give you Dropbox-esk sync functionality. That’s nice but still Windows does it better.

Application compatibility. This one probably puts off a lot of people. I actually think Linux is good here, of course I speak only from my own experience. My thinking today is where is not IS there a Linux version. There are notable exceptions that I simply don’t use. My biggest complaint here is that people need to make deb and rpm packages for their stuff. Seriously if you can afford to make some stupid custom install you can afford to make a package instead. Games are an exception but I’m talking about using Linux for enterprise desktops not personal.

By David

I am a supporter of free software and run Burke Software and Consulting LLC. I am always looking for contract work especially for non-profits and open source projects. Open Source Contributions I maintain a number of Django related projects including GlitchTip, Passit, and django-report-builder. You can view my work on gitlab. Academic papers Incorporating Gaming in Software Engineering Projects: Case of RMU Monopoly in the Journal of Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics (2008)

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