Sep 292009

Those of you who know me–who am I kidding, the only people who read this site are my personal friends so OF COURSE you know, I have been trying to find the least sucky operating system for years… and I have YET to find one that meets my basic criteria of “non-sucky”.

Most (if not all) of you have asked, what is my criteria, and I have tried to define it from time to time. but frankly, there is not enough room on the interwebs to fully pull that answer from my ever-expanding butt. So in a nutshell here it is:

Every OS has three points that must be considered:

Point 1> The good.

Anything that the OS does or has that is good is placed in this category these items typically have a value I like to give them numerical values of 1 to 3.

  1. Linux Mint integrates the desktop effects menu into the same applet as the wallpaper, themes, and  such. This is a gee-wiz feature that LOOKS good but doesn’t really DO anything to make the OS run better. (+1pt)
  2. In Debian the Network Manager applet connects to wireless networks in 1/3 the time it takes in Fedora, Mint, and OpenSUSE. This is a functionality IMPROVEMENT.(+2pts)
  3. Debian and OpenSUSE have an additional applet that assists in package installation, for instance, in Debian, I can run “aptitude” instead of “apt-get”, aptitude will check the install package and its dependencies for conflicts and RESOLVE them, while apt-get does not do this. This is a functionality ADDITION.(+3pts)

Point 2> The Bad.

Any item or function found in an OS that functions badly, or in some cases, functionality that is plain MISSING is placed here. like the good, I like to place numerical values to each item like thus:

  1. “What the–where’d THAT go?!? A perfect example here is the same as the good, Linux Mint has the desktop effects in a place that makes sense… so much so that now every OS that DOESN’T have a similar setup gets a bad mark here. This is an example of MISSING features.(-1pt)
  2. In Fedora, OpenSuse, and Arch Linux, the network manager takes a full 15 to 20 seconds to find and connect to a wireless access point, this is an example of functionality degradation over Debian.(-2pts)
  3. In Arch Linux, it is possible to install and use Pulseaudio, but pulse in arch is so broken that it is basically unusable. Seeing as how Arch is one of the few Linux Distributions that has poor–no, I should say, NO implementation of Pulseaudio, this is an example functionality loss.(-3pts)

Poinf 3> The Unforgivable.

These points have skewed values compared to the last two points because these are the points that are so damaging that they make the distro almost (if not fully) unusable.

  1. I have mentioned this one already, but it is ALSO an unforgivable… In Arch Linux, it is possible to install and use Pulseaudio, but pulse in arch is so broken that it is basically unusable. Seeing as how Arch is one of the few Linus Distributions that has poor–no, I should say, NO implementation of Pulseaudio. Under normal circumstances one can sidestep Pulse and just use Alsa… unfortunately in linux applications use multiple sound systems, for instance; rythmbox (a music player) uses gstreamer, while vlc (a multimedia video player) uses Alsa, and the gnome sounds use esd (a sound daemon). with all these variations on sound systems it’s easy to loose one sound output over another… IE: you can be listening to music and open a video and NOT hear the video sound, nor hear the system sounds and such. Pulse addresses this by pulling all the linux sound systems under one roof. with the lack of pulse in arch, some audiophiles (such as myself) Will have a problem with this. This is UNFORGIVABLE excusion. (-10pts)
  2. If you happen to have an nVidia video card, in Debian you have the unfortunate need to make a choice of how you can use you card, you can use the open source driver built for the card, which will cost you 3d support rendering the card useless for any 3d application including CAD and 3d gaming. You can Use the nvidia installer to install the video driver, which will break your desktop forcing you to reload your OS the next time X is updated). OR you can install the nvidia driver “the debian way” which will require you to use multiple “unstable” repositories, generating the possible–nay, PROBABLE system failure due to conflicting packages as they migrate from “unstable” to “testing” generating the SAME result as installing the “nvidia way”. either way, you’re screwed. This is an unforgivable FUNCTIONALITY loss (-20pts)
  3. Some distributions have the dubious position of being backed by bigoted politics. while this is NOT a slight on the OS itself, it IS a slight on the maker and thus reflects on the OS. Linux Mint has the audacity to hijack the search engines of all web browsers installed on the OS to FORCE you to use a page muddled down with advertisements geared to line the developers pockets with advertising monies. While this in no way limits the functionality of the OS, nor does it cost me money, NOR do I have a problem with a good programmer making money on good programming. This is a tactic that coerces me to do something against my will. Normally I would be able to overlook it, IF I were given the option to use my own search engine, OR theirs. Heck! If they gave me the option, I’d be one of those people kind enough to actually USE their search engine because Mint is just so darn good otherwise! but the Mint developers take it to the unforgivable by FORCING their hijacked search engine on me. And they take it one step further by implementing their hijacked search engine in every update! I fix it, they update it, I’m back in “coercion mode”. This is an example of UNFORGIVABLE DEVELOPER POLITICS.(-30pts)

Now these are my basic criteria for deciding what OS doesn’t suck… Thus far, no OS has rated above Zero. The one that does will get the privileged of permanently residing on my Hard Drives.

Until then, NUKE ‘N PAVE BABY!!!

Please note, that in ALL my criteria, I have not made an example of Microsoft, Mac, nor BSD. this is because I don’t use either… If I did, I’m sure my criteria could be made to include them.

  4 Responses to “What makes a bad OS truely bad?”

  1. I can help you with unforgivable point number 3… install Chromium (not Chrome, the package is called chromium-browser). It uses a generic google search engine (in the omni-bar that you just get used to), and Mint can’t change it. And the Chromium developers are constantly applying updates, so you get that warm, fuzzy, they-haven’t-shelved-it-yet feeling. Use it and love it. It’s further along than Google’s Chrome (you can apply themed skins if you want, which isn’t available for Chrome yet). Or you can choose use the system-themed border or not. And if you modify the launcher command appropriately, you can enjoy web pages with Flash (instead of being required to use Firefart for Flash). Yes, Chromium (and Chrome) look cartoony at first, but you get used to it. The browser isn’t encumbered by tool bars that take up precious screen real estate (ehem, IE and Firefart, ehem). Oh, and Chromium/Chrome has built-in spell checking for text boxes (with wavy red underlines), which is a life saver when filling out forms to send to your state representatives (just because you live in a hick state, it doesn’t mean you should have to sound like one to your legislators). Oh, and incognito mode for trackless browsing. Oh, and that whole each-tab-is-a-separate-process thing that makes it so that one tab doesn’t lock up the whole browser (ehem, IE, ehem). But I digress (I’m biased).

    By the way, Mint sucks when it comes to trying to rip video off of a DV camera using a firewire port. XP does it without hesitation (because MovieMaker comes with XP), but Mint refuses to cooperate. Minus one point for Mint again. And I still haven’t been able to figure out how to get an audio stream running on my server (using VLC… it supposedly can do it).

    But I chose Mint for my server because Windows Pick-your-version actually tends to ATTRACT viruses and malware.

  2. I believe you missed the point…

    Mint failed on that point because of their internal politics. I am very aware I can bypass their search thingy by installing a browser from an external repo/direct install. Heck! The first thing I did was install opera FROM the opera website—an interesting thing happened there too! when I performed the install from the opera site, gdebi (the debian package installer) popped up and “warned” me that the package had an OLDER version in the mint repo and that “installing from an outside source is unsafe” …yeah, Mint developers, I see what you did there… Nice try.—anyhoo, I realize that sidestepping their political nonsense is possible. However that is precisely the point; it’s like buying a really nice house, walking in, and discovering the Realtors’ Mastiff has left a giant turd in the middle of the living room. Sure I can step around it, and sure I can clean it up. But I shouldn’t have to when I don’t own the frikin’ dog!

  3. And, with that, folks, he has departed for the land of Rediculously Picky. Be sure to write, kay? But be sure to use plain text because likely nothing else will satisfy you…

  4. I tried Mint on both the garage server and my lappy. Mint KNOWS that my Audigy external sound card is plugged in, but refuses to use it (regardless of ALSA, OSS, or Pulse).

    I guess I’m going to keep using Windows for my audio ripping needs.