Part the Fourth: Dealing With Knockoffs
For every popular, successful program, there is a knockoff for Ubuntu programmed by somebody who elevates their pet peeves to the status of religious dogma or has to break the program to distribute it without getting sued. For example, Ubuntu’s default music player, Rhythmbox, was obviously designed by somebody who enjoys frames and resents iTunes for not having them:
I’ll give you a minute to laugh at my taste in music.
We good? OK. You see my point, though: that’s an agonizingly clunky interface. You can get a smoother look, but that really is the default. Pick on Apple all you want, their sense of design can be sorely missed when it goes away. This is like Windows Media Player had a kid with iTunes,and dropped it on its head.
And every single Ubuntu program is like this. Sure, you can download emulators like Wine and use the real programs, but for, say, music, that’s a huge pain in the ass. So generally you’re stuck with the hillbilly cousin of the program you want.
Part of this is just that open-source programs don’t have teams of designers to make everything pretty, but still, there are times when you wish they would, or at least get their significant others to offer some opinions. Which leads to the ultimate point…
Part the Fifth: Ubuntu Doesn’t Need You, Doesn’t Like You, and Doesn’t Care If You Leave
The key difference between commercial OSes and Ubuntu is that commercial OSes want to make you happy. Apple wants to appeal to your sense of style and make even the most abstract and scary computing process simple and painless, mostly by taking control out of the user’s hands, which enrages the kind of nerd who’d never buy an Apple product anyway, so Apple ignores them. Microsoft just wants you to keep buying computers with Windows on them so they can keep collecting license fees and maybe squeeze an upgrade out of you before your Dell craps the bed.
Ubuntu doesn’t care. This has its advantages in that you will never, ever, ever receive an email trying to upsell you, or receive an Ubuntu system bloated with crapware. But the big disadvantage is that Ubuntu has, only begrudgingly, become “user-friendly” and is still infested with the kind of holier-than-thou douchebags who gave open-source a bad name in the first place.
Part of it is the documentation, which starts at “terrible” and goes downhill from there. To be fair, Ubuntu has gotten much better: as mentioned before, the commands are right there, in plaintext, for you to type in, and it helps that after ten iterations they’ve gotten the usability thing down.
But it doesn’t want your money. If you quit and get Windows, it’s not going to beg you to come back. It’ll just ignore you.
And maybe that’s OK. It’s nice to have an OS that doesn’t bug you constantly. Although it wouldn’t kill all the smug nerds to spend a little more energy rewriting that documentation, instead of whining about other OSes. We’re just sayin’.