Thursday, July 03, 2008

Why Linux Sucks

Chatting is one of the most basic activities that you do on the net. Let us compare the two activities on Windows and (Ubuntu) Linux. We will chat using Google Talk.

1. Windows – I download Google Talk chat client. It is a small download (less than 2MB) and takes less than a minute to download. I click the executable. The installer prompts me a couple of times. I press next, next, next and at last see the Google Talk screen. There are text boxes for me to enter my login and password in. I do so and start chatting. I can change my status using a single click and typing. I can see popups whenever a new event occurs.

2. Linux – I install Pidgin using Adept. I start Pidgin. I go to accounts setup and create a new Jabber account. I visit the internet and look up the documentation for setup Google Talk on Pidgin. After a couple of tries, I manage to get that right. I activate that account and the buddy list appears. I start chatting and realize that there's no popup notification. I open adept and install guifications. I open the plugin setup in Pidgin and activate guifications. I start chatting and realize that guification shows me a popup for every possible event – even when a buddy has started or stopped typing! I open the plugin setup again and turn off most of the notifications. I then also realize that the popups are supremely ugly. I search the internet and locate a dozen nifty themes for guifications. I download four or five and see what fits into my desktop. Finally I settle on one. But now, the text on the popup is too big and I can't see the message properly. So I open the pluging setup again, and change the font sizes. Ah, now all is set. The entire morning is gone and I can go have lunch. So I click new status in the pidgin window and whoa, I'm confronted with this overly complex dialog wherein I must create a new message complete with a title and all, save it and then use it as my status. The whole issue of statuses gets me interested in my buddies' statuses and I read them one by one. Oh wow, an interesting link. Can I click it? No!! I can't even copy paste it in the browser. And to top it all, file sharing and voice chat doesn't work either. I'd better go have that lunch.

I hope I've made my point.

16 comments:

  1. I never did like Linux, even before chatting became such a rage. Just never been comfortable with it for some reason. Maybe Windows makes you brain dead and then you don't feel like using your brain anymore.

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  2. hehehe...

    I guess your problem is not with Linux but you not being used to Linux. Once you get used to it, you would like it Trust me.

    I wonder what Linux distribution you are using, try Ubuntu sometime. The installing mechanism is much simpler than windows, and overall look and feel of it is awesome.

    I have no problems with windows, it is great for desktop applications, but things like networking, setting routes, configuring simple things become a nightmare in windows.

    :)
    Cheers and good luck with Linux.

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  3. Hm so goli above left a vast majority of what I was about to say. But I'll add my 2 cents anyway. Pidgin on linux was not built (developed) by google -- some enthusiasts took extreme interest in their hobby time and put together this piece of code that can emulate a chat client on linux. And guess what, it works on all protocols: google, aol, yahoo (to name a few). Not to mention making multiple ids of the same buddy into one, buddy pounces, etc. If you want a chat and voice/video conversation client that works "exactly" the same on both windows and linux, try Skype.

    It is a matter of needs, I guess. If you were just looking for something "exactly" like google talk on Linux you'll be disappointed. The same way if you go to hunt for exactly the same thing in firefox as in IE. They're better because they're different -- it is a matter of choice.

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  4. @ Goli - I've been using linux regularly for five years now. I'm on Ubuntu since the Breezy Badger days. No, inexperience is not my problem. See next comment.

    @ Sudipta - I you are completely missing out on the point. I like linux just fine and I love the amount of configurability if has to offer. The point I was trying to make it was 1. There's no decent chat client on linux available. 2) Many things on Linux don't work out of the box.

    With KDE4 and Ubuntu, Linux is moving towards vying the home user. If it wants to break into that market, it needs to make things work out of the box. Ubuntu has made great efforts in that direction. Various apps need to do that same.

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  5. Skype voice chat works good on Linux.

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  6. use meebo. http://meebo.com. You wont have to install anything :)

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  7. Hi vinod I am glad I read the other comments otherwise I would end up giving a huge gyaan session on the topic. Knowing that you hare a ubuntero for 5 yrs now (almost same here) makes it a little easier.

    I have hated the exact same thing about pidgin in the latest version. I remember using gaim that was a little difficult to configure but at least showed the icons for each different account differently (I need to know as I prefer gtalk).

    Let me tell u another thing that you are gonna hate about Pidgin if u don't already know - it saves your passwords in plain text! :D

    Now coming to why I still love linux -

    I have got most things that I missed of windows working on linux except for voice chat and live streaming videos of CNN. Skype has it's own set of issues on my laptop which unfortunately din't come with a pre-installed ubuntu.

    I continue to use pidgin as I know the problem shall itself. That's been my experience for over 4 yrs now. Almost every problem now. I shall write profusely on such stuff once I seed my blog on technical stuff which is in near future.

    Like Mekhala pointed out u can use meebo or

    http://imo.in/

    The google talk gadget is neat also:

    http://www.google.com/talk/

    I am not switching to these as VC still doesn't work so not worth it. I know some people have got the voice thingie working but I haven't had the time to experiment. Got IE working since the dumb site of Deutsche gives this rather user friendly message -

    "Works only on MSIE 5.0 and higher"

    It took me a while to understand what it was the good ol' internet explorer that the site needed so I got it on ubuntu -

    http://www.howtoforge.com/ubuntu_internet_explorer

    Oh I think I can go and on n on on this subject. Let me save it for a blog post.

    @ swetank

    Love the line - Windows makes u brain dead... :D U want to remain brain dead??? Try ubuntu if u haven't tried it already. Ur dislike is for some ancient linux I m sure. Today linux is superior to windows in many many regards and no I m not talking bout server or developer. I am talking bout ordinary people from govt. I have helped people from sadashivnagar police station.

    I have had the great chance to see Mark Shuttleworth in person and even talk to Matt Zimmerman. They are doing wonders to the world of desktops. Don't be alien to this revolution! :D

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  8. @ Enigma - Thanks for that rather detailed comment. I don't think I have anything to add here. Shuttleworth and Zimmerman?! That must have been cool.

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  9. I don't see the problem

    Account>Manage>Add>Google Talk

    Notification?

    Tools>Plugins>Message Notification

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  10. You can right click on user name and click on "Get info" to go to links on his status. (I know it's always better in Gtalk)

    Also, you don't need to save your status messages every time you change it. You can just type it there and it will appear. You just need to save those status messages which you plan to use more often.
    (This I think is better than Gtalk.)

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  11. @ Everyone - Please, I'm not looking for ways to chat on google talk on linux. I know how to do that. I was trying to make a point about Linux Desktop Software, please concentrate on that.

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  12. Linux was never made to be used, only to be developed into something even more complex and unusable

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  13. @ Shrek - What about psi-jingle. Voice chat acutally works on that.

    @ Ankit - I should probably start collecting your linux quotes. They will become famous.

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  14. @ Vinod Khare: You've got a point, but you're pointing out the wrong thing. It's 100% Google's fault for not porting their client on linux. Basically, what you do is compare the _official_ google talk application for windows to Pidgin, a _multi-IM_ application developed by individuals which happens to also support gtalk.

    Apart from that, i totally agree. Linux doesn't really have any decent IM clients (that support the full features of the windows equivalent ones).

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  15. Linux is not the problem, it's the lack of a chat client built by Google. You said you've been using linux for years? This does not sound like and informed comment, just an opinionated remark.

    Does Microsoft make sure to build a client for every chat site out there? NO. They let the sites and manufacturers write their own programs and codes. If a company does not write an OS compatible version of their product, it's their fault, not the fault of the OS.

    Google should build a multi-platform chat client.

    There are plenty of reasons that Linux would suck for MOST people, like lack of web cam, wireless and printer support - now THOSE are reasons that Linux stinks for most people. Shockwave and DVD problems is a show stopper for others.

    It still works great for me, though.

    PCFluxboxOS & PCLinuxOS. rockin.

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