Useful features ignored because "too much like Windows"
"X11-based systems are a whole lot more configurable."
Maybe for geeky things, but for simple everday things, I'm not so sure. Several examples come to mind.
Example 1. You can't drag-select multiple items in list-view in Ubuntu (Gnome, Nautilus), and none of the developers seem to care.
Nearest workaround I've been able to find is the clunky idiotic click-shift-click workaround, but for Christ's sake, I've been able to drag-select list-view items on my old Macs for almost forever, and Windows has that functionality too, so why can't Ubuntu do it? Ubuntu allows drag-select in icon view, so why can't they do it in list view too? (And who in their right mind uses icon view anyway, unless it's for pictures or something, but I do all picture-editing stuff on my old Macs.)
Is it too complicated for the non-paid hobbyist programmers to figure out, or are they just being stubborn because it would be "too much like Mac" or "too much like Windows"?
I've actually *seen* one instance where a developer actually cited "too much like Windows" as a reason for not including a different (unrelated) much-requested feature that many Linux users wanted. He even came right out and admitted that yes the requested feature would be useful and good, but since it might remind people of a Windows functionality, it would be uncool for Linux to have it too. Nothing to do with copyrights or patents or anything, just plain foolish pride. Cutting off their nose to spite their face.
Seems to be one of the drawbacks of not getting much/any financial rewards from their efforts, is that evidently many developers don't give a rat's ass what users want. Must be an ego trip or something, why they even bother to write software in the first place. Or, just boredom, aka something to do.
Example 2. In Ubuntu + Gnome, or in KDE for that matter, how does one adjust the height of window title-bar thingies, and size/height of menu items, etc? I can easily do all that in Windows XP Pro (I like to make most of those things tiny, to give me more room on my already-big monitor or "just because"). Is it just something I missed in Linux, or is there an obscure command-line way to do that, or is there in fact *no* way to custom fine-tune such GUI things in Linux? It's easy in Windows, only a few clicks.
Although I suspect that most Windows users never change any of that stuff and probably aren't even aware that it's possible (some users have so sense of curiosity and never poke around in menus etc), but for those who do want to customize such things, it's nice to have the option. But as far as I can tell it's *not* configurable in the Linux distros I've tried.
Example 3. Last I checked (a few months ago), I still could not find a mere-mortal-understandable way to make keyboard shortcuts (for opening apps) in Ubuntu *except* for the very limited number of things that appear in System > Preferences > Keyboard Shortcuts. It would be nice to have an easy quick way (as in Windows XP Pro) to make keyboard shortcuts to open gedit or Geany or even the silly Gnome solitaire game (which seems to be much more winnable than the Windows version, hmm), or the System Monitor or whatever else. Yes, it allows me to set keyboard shorcuts for browser, calculator, email (useless since I only use webmail), log out, and a whole sh1tload of useless audio stuff (I don't do any audio whatsoever on Linux - again that's what my old Macs are for), and a few other minor things. One time, somewhere, I read of some arcane convoluted complicated way to make keyboard shortcuts, complete with other users complaining that such things shouldn't be necessary since it's ridiculously easy in Windows - I seem to recall that when I read the instructions, my eyes glazed over and I fell into a stupor ;) and haven't pursued it since.
But once again the too-often heard open-source attitude seems to be "STFU you whiney moron lusers, it's either our way or the highway, write your own if you don't like it, or go screw yourself and quit complaining, or go back to your loser PC or preschooler Mac" or whatever. :(
So much for open-source innovation and Linux GUI improvements.
Example 4. Screenshots. Why do I have to jump through ridiculous hoops just to get a screenshot of a pulldown menu? If evil horrible Windows ;) can do it automatically, why in the hell can't Ubuntu?
Seems to me that some open-source developers (Windows as well as Linux) are just being stubborn and *deliberately* withholding useful asked-for features in some sort of sadistic passive-aggressive attempt to spite the users.
A couple of years ago I spent quite a few months (almost a year I think) using KDE, and it seemed rather needlessly idiotic too, although for different reasons which I don't remember now. I found myself cussing at the damn thing quite frequently.
Never did understand the "KDE is like Windows" thing - didn't seem that way to me.
KDE seemed kind of dumbed-down and not very configurable at all, and I only used it out of desperation when a Windows virus made me all paranoid about Windows.
So, because of all the above (and other things) I have yet to be convinced that Linux is "more configurable" than other OSes. Compared to, for instance, XP Pro, Linux seems far *less* configurable in the things that matter to ordinary users.
Also, trying to get rid of all the bloat (System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager) to delete crap that is absolutely useless to me, such as all the stupid Evolution and Pidgin space-wasting stuff (that Linux partition is fairly small at the moment, and besides it's the principle of the thing), is an exercise in futility besides wearing out my hand from way too much clicking on stuff only to find out it's part of something else which probably shouldn't be deleted.
I'm sorry, but as to rolling my own Linux, I'm not a genius, and unless I can go to the library (or find online) a COMPLETE and 100-percent ACCURATE and highly detailed STEP-BY-STEP instruction-manual-for-dummies ;) on how to put together my own Linux thingie without all the bloat, that will remain out of reach.
What's with all those frickin' dependencies, anyway? And why do I have to keep *all* the Gnome games when I only want *one* of them?
I haven't yet got up enough nerve to see what happens if I delete important sounding stuff such as "ubuntu-desktop" - sounds rather serious, and at the moment I'm not in the mood to have to reinstall the whole damn thing again.
Although, to be fair - at least Linux complete reinstalls are much faster than Windows reinstalls, but that's only because I don't have to install very much in Linux, since it's only used for browsing, downloading offline Windows anti-virus updates ;) for the Windows box, quickie webpage edits if I'm too lazy to transfer files to one of my other OSes, and that's about it (seeing as how Photoshop and Corel Painter don't run on Linux, and my printer doesn't work with Linux either).
The only reason I was ever interested in Linux at all, is because I needed a modern OS for online stuff, and I don't regard Windows as sufficiently secure (even when tweaked, running under a Limited account, etc.). So I put up with Linux crap, for the time being anyway, because I haven't yet found any other satisfactory semi-secure alternatives. (Or, at least the *illusion* of security, not sure which it is.) After way too much experimentation with different distros, I 'settled' for Ubuntu (which is still awful, although not as bad as it used to be) because it was the only distro that had good hardware support for my silly little old PC - at least the video works at the proper screen res without having to fight the damn thing (unlike other distros), so it's not *all* bad :)
I *still* would like to be able to drag-select items for copying to a flashdrive though (sorry to harp on that again), to transfer to other machines. But the legendary Linux configurability (or lack of) makes such a simple take-for-granted-on-other-OSes thing *not* possible. Yes, it's trivial, but...
It's all the little things that add up to make a complete picture as far as usability and user happiness ;) and - as an extension of that - probably OS marketshare too.
Now, what *I* want to know is, why isn't there a Reg icon for a Devil Penguin? There's a Devil Bill Gates icon, and a Devil Steve Jobs icon, but no Devil Penguin... hmmm... Is it because it's "not fair to pick on the underdog"? I suppose that's a good a reason as any...