Linux' Weakness 2 - Commands, Translations and Verdict


Author: InvisibleUser Team

Our rant goes on and on and we will continue to talk about Linux’ weaknesses. In this post, we will further elaborate the issues that hinder Linux adoption. If you did not red the first part yet, head back to “Linux’ Weakness 1 – Packages, Releases and Distro Websites”. We were very kind to Linux, but you should know that the distros are not perfect.

The Issues

Let us now go into greater detail with why this is such a mess.

The Command Line

A minor problem is the command-line. It can be helpful, because you can very quickly perform administrative tasks if you have some practice. We absolutely love the command-line, it is more powerful than Windows’ cmd and PowerShell or the macOS Terminal, but we have been using it for years on Linux. The Terminal is not the biggest Linux weakness, but can still be a problem. A beginner can cause serious damage that is indefinitely hard-to-fix. You get the commands from people in forums and 10 people give you 20 different commands.

They do not always give you the best advice, like the people that like being a dick and recommend commands like sudo :(){ :|: & };: or the command sudo rm -rf /. The first one is the fork bomb command, which creates endless copies of itself, until Linux freezes entirely. The latter deletes the root directory and destroys your system. To learn about all the harmful commands there are, visit this guide. Actually useful commands are in our guide on commands.

The descriptions of commands and operations are too short to provide the information you need. That is the main problem in the English version of Linux distros, in other language versions, things are even more complicated, because of bad translations.


This brings us to the next issue: Translations. Linux distros strive for being translated into as many languages as possible. Ubuntu, for example, is available in over 55 languages. They focus on quantity rather than quality. That is their goal! “Ubuntu” was named after the African philosophy Ubuntu, which stands for “humanity”, so they want to give all people a version in their native language, instead of providing a well translated one in the 10 most spoken languages.

If you speak French or German, you should have a look at the recent 19.04 release of Ubuntu Budgie. It is a bloody disaster of weird translations, unclear statements and confusing names for parts of the OS, that no one would ever use. Additionally, there are segments of Budgie where the English original is wildly mixed with the German text and the search function is buggy. For some items, you have to search for the German/French name, others are only found by their English name, even though they have clearly been translated in the menus. You might argue that 19.04 is not an LTS version, but still, a beginner will always download the most recent and modern version. They will then be surprised after installing it and discover the unfinished mess that will hopefully be fixed by the LTS release a year later, version 20.04 in April 2020.

French (240 million) and German (115 million) have 350 million speakers combined. If the situation is that bad for major languages, we do not even want to know how it is for smaller languages! Ubuntu Budgie is broken anyway, it does not work on bigger screens! Menus are either too small to see or get cut in half if you scale them to 200%.


Finally, we are very happy that we have found a good distro, Zorin OS, but it has been a long and frustrating search. There is no “Put the fun back into computing!” (Distrowatch). We just want a system that is usable, so we can get the job done. We do not want to discourage you from using Linux, it is the still the best OS if you find the right distro.

There are, however, reasons why Linux did not have its breakthrough on desktop PCs, while it is dominant on smart devices and for special purposes (server, pen-testing, security, IoT). It is the fault of developers that fragment the software universe.

Do not get us wrong here. We absolutely think that it is good to have many distros for special purposes. Pen-testing, privacy and Home theatre PCs need their own distro. But why are there not 5 well maintained distros for the desktop, which are kept up to date by more than 5 people? We are the biggest fans of decentralisation, but 5 desktop distros and 2-3 for each special-use would be enough!

We also have no problem with the many different desktop environments. If there were just 5 desktop distros, you could make them look like you want with a different DE. At the moment, we have hundreds of distros, many of which only differ in the DEs they use, so they are basically unnecessary.

We are also the biggest fans of Linux creator Linux Torvalds, the most humble computer genius in the world! What he created is a flawless, stable, open-source and versatile kernel. The only thing we cannot seem to understand is why so many developers take the best OS kernel ever and make substandard distributions with it.

Linux, please!

Why not 5 desktop distros that all run the same software packages and which you can make look however you want with the dozens of desktop environments? We recently saw a journal article from the year 2005, which discussed why Linux has not had its breakthrough on desktop computers yet. The answer in 2000 was the same as it is in 2019: Fragmented market, software does not run on all distros, lack of a clear development strategy outside of the kernel (e.g. 55 languages available, but horribly translated), unfinished releases, command-line hassle.

A lack of software, which many people name as the main issue, is not Linux’ problem. There are so many open-source solutions as alternatives to your beloved proprietary programs. Graphics designers, photographers, film editors, programmers, office workers, etc. They all have valuable programs available to get their work done on Linux.

“Linux, we LOVE you and just want a desktop OS to replace predatory systems like Windows 10. Why do you make it so hard for us?” — InvisibleUser

Thank you for listening to our little rant about Linux’ weakness. 😡 It is over! 😛 We have some links for further reading we would like to share with you:

To close this section, we recommend that you look at this Linux survey from Phoronix. It was published by FossBytes in 2017. The survey reveals that Linux distros besides Ubuntu, Debian, Arch, Mint, Gentoo and Solus are almost irrelevant. Use the DuckDuckGo Search and look for “Linux surveys“ for more polls that show the same.

A survey purely based on the looks of the distro is here.

Here is a good video by Chris Titus on “6 Mistakes New Linux Users Make” and distro hopping (minute 8.35). We have talked about distro hopping in “Linux’ Weakness – Packages, Releases and Distro Websites”.


Linux’ Weakness 1 – Packages, Releases and Distro Websites


FreeDOS Guide and lesser-known OSs