15 minutes with the 2023 Linux Desktop

July 5, 2023 5:59 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Every decade or so I try out the fabled Linux Desktop to check on its progress. After reading a number of glowing comments in early 2023, I decided it’s time to give it a go again. Here is some of my 15-minute experience.

The competition

Modern software, the backbone of our digital society, is in a dire state and the popular OSes are a good example of how bad it is.

  • macOS, the best OS by far, has serious issues:
    • Poor keyboard accessibility – we can’t even open the Finder context menu; The Allow access to folder dialog supports Shift+Tab, but not Tab (?!)
    • Marketing bullet point worthy features that are abandoned and their issues remain unfixed (QuickLook animation)
  • Windows
    • Wildly inconsistent UI
    • Telemetry up the wazoo
  • Haiku OS is the most appealing one to me, but it’s nowhere near complete
    • Limited software library
    • Unfinished

Setup

I installed the most popular (?) distribution, Ubuntu, on a virtual machine and examined the settings, some utilities and the built-in apps. Installation was smooth enough and generally, the system runs well. But…

Tough choice

To su or to sudo, that is the strange question

Careless window layout

The padding around the buttons is off

Apps launch with much fanfare

I’m happy Firefox is ready, that much is obvious, but why the popup?

Visual garbage mismanagement

A leftover patch from the Livepatch app litters the Linux Desktop

Do you even kern?

The built-in LibreOffice struggles with displaying text and has weird gaps between some characters. macOS typography comparison below.

Much better

Wasted space

The app launcher. What’s with the unnecessary ellipsis in so much white space?

The known Unknown

The Unknown process became my confounding companion and it wouldn’t go away

Mo’ pixels, mo’ problems

In HiDPI mode, one of the windows is crisp and the other one is blurry

Disappearing act

The Power menu lacks a Shutdown action, but it was there earlier

Wall of text

The boot screen is too much. Desktop or CLI, pick one.

Great success

The browser works as expected

Game over

Anyway, let’s install Steam, that should be straightforward…

 

… and here is the Steam installer, which doesn’t work and the list of commands isn’t helpful

At which point I gave up. Looking for help online in order to complete a basic task isn’t sound UX. What am I missing?

Captain’s log: File not found

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This post was written by rado

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