I returned to Linux as my primary system after about 10 years or so. My last extended experience was Mandriva 10.x and GNOME 2.x—it still shines in my memory as the most stable, hard working, trouble free desktop experience of my life. It never complained, it never crashed, it never froze; it just worked, no matter how hard I pushed it into multi tasking. I had a Win XP virtual machine in it, but I don’t recall using it very much. I was in love with that system—I have never loved any OS other than the Mac.
When the Mandriva project died it was a great frustration to me. I tried a few other distros, including Ubuntu. I used PCLOS for a couple of months, and eventually decided to go back to Windows. Win 7 worked out for me, because by now I’ve become pretty good at mollycoddling Windows and getting it to stay up and work—just barely. I tested Win 10 on my secondary system: it crashed itself during an automatic update. It did not boot up. Then my main Win 7 system which had been pretty stable by Windows standards crashed—BSOD during bootup. I can’t remember the exact error message but it was in the ball park of file system corruption.
So, that’s the journey back to Tuxville. I just don’t want to be bothered with trying out 31 flavors of distros. I don’t have the time. I am sticking it out with Ubuntu because it appears to be a stable project, and it has the best 3rd party support. I like MATE—obviously, I loved GNOME 2! I am going to extend a lot of patience to the MATE team in their effort to bring a stable, usable Gnome-ish desktop to us. Thanks, fellas, I appreciate the effort, I really do.
Having said that, I am going to ask the following question—in the last 10 years what major progress has the Linux desktop made? Is it more stable and usable than 10 years ago? By how much?
My observations are the following:
- Youtube works out of the box
- Nvidia and Radeon graphics are not a pain in the ass
- VLC plays everything out of the box
- Wine works better; my necessary Win apps are running well
- Network connections are made more easily
All these are noticeable and welcome improvements. Yet, on the whole my impression is that the Linux desktop has essentially been standing still for a decade. I rate the MATE desktop experience approximately on par with Windows—that is very disappointing! I want Linux developers to understand that some substantial number of us users look to Linux precisely for stability and reliability, NOT cute features, nor the latest package of this or that.
If you’re going to call something LTS then please… PLEASE… err on the side of stability and reliability. Please only include in the default packaging whatever has been tested thoroughly, and proven to be coherent and stable. I do not want new features until after they have been tested thoroughly and integrated smoothly. That’s my idea of LTS. Please do NOT push out updates to an LTS system by default—let power users tinker if they want to.
I am looking forward to seeing a trend line of steady improvement in the MATE experience towards the point at which I would describe it—as I did my GNOME 2.x—as head and shoulders above Windows.
Good luck, and thank you for all the hard work! No… THANK YOU!!!