What’s holding back desktop Linux

In December last year I wrote-off my laptop by pouring coffee over it. After hunting for a suitable replacement I ended up with a Lenovo X230 sporting 8GB ram and a speedy SSD. I decided it would be a good time to revisit Desktop Linux. As someone who’s used Linux on and off as a desktop OS for about ten years now, I thought I’d discuss what I consider to be its pitfalls.

Openbox under Arch Linux

As a previous Gentoo user I enjoyed using Arch. It provided similar levels of flexibility without the requirement to compile everything. For Linux users who want to try something more involved I’d definitely recommend it.
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My historical Linux desktop experience

Valve Software, a popular gave developer and distribution company have recently released a beta version of their own Linux distribution named SteamOS. Whilst SteamOS is designed to be a gaming-only OS, it will no doubt encourage gave developers to release games with Linux support. The release of SteamOS got me thinking about my past experiences with using Linux on the desktop and I decided to write them up.

Part I – The Miracle of Birth (2001-2003)

At some point in 2001 I installed Linux for the first time, my school had a copy of SuSE Linux Professional 7.3 that I was allowed to borrow for the night. From memory it was perhaps as many as 7 CD’s. Even back then the installer would happily partition your disk and setup LiLo (Grub became more popular later on). Dual booting Linux and Windows 2000 was straightforward, even for someone who had no prior Linux experience.

SuSE 7.3 Discs
Compared to other popular distributions at the time (RedHat, Slackware and Mandrake) SuSE came with a handy configuration tool in the form of YaST. For someone without any Linux experience this meant I could configure X (using SaX2) and some other bits. Reminiscent of the Windows control panel, it made getting things up and running very straightforward.
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