Dear Ubuntu…

Dear Ubuntu,

I hope this letter finds you well. I want to start by saying that our time together has been one of creativity and entertainment, a time in which you gave me the tools to develop a new career, to run a small electronics business, make fun things, and to write several thousand articles for Hackaday and other publications, but for all that it’s sadly time for our ways to part. The magic that once brought us together has faded, and what remains is in danger of becoming a frustration.

In our early days as an item you gave me for the first time a Linux distro that was complete, fast, and easy to use without spending too much time at the CLI or editing config files to make things happen; you gave me a desktop that was smooth and uncluttered, and you freed me from all those little utilities that were required to make Windows usable. You replaced the other distros I’d been using, you dual-booted with my Windows machines, and pretty soon you supplanted the Microsoft operating system entirely.

Ubuntu and me and a trusty Dell laptop, Oxford Hackspace, 2017.
Me and Ubuntu in 2017, good times.

We’ve been together for close to two decades now, and in that time we’ve looked each other in the eye across a variety of desktop and laptop computers. My trusty Dell Inspiron 640 ran you for over a decade through several RAM, HDD, and SSD upgrades, and provided Hackaday readers with the first few years of my writing. Even the Unity desktop couldn’t break our relationship, those Linux Mint people weren’t going to tear us asunder! You captured my text, edited my videos and images, created my PCBs and CAD projects, and did countless more computing tasks. Together we made a lot of people happy, and for that I will always be grateful.

An Ubunto wait to quit or force quit dialogue
This dialogue has been an unwelcome guest rather a lot of late.

But over the last few years, I’ve noticed that our relationship has slowly become one less of harmony and more of frustration. Like middle-aged spread, you became progressively more bloated, your moments of freezing became obvious and inconvenient, and the delays to open some indispensable pieces of software became too long to simply explain as the result of having other apps running in the background. Our once close relationship has become strained by endless waiting for Snap packaged applications to load, and by my USB peripherals mysteriously refusing to talk to applications they’ve been used with for years.

I understand that Snap is meant to release us from dependency hell and I know why you’ve put each one in its own little sandbox, but honestly, even ChromeOS running a Linux application in its virtual machine is faster than this, and it doesn’t require everything to come from one distribution hub, or mess with access to hardware. I need my machine’s performance back, I need using a peripheral to stop being a lottery. I need more, Ubuntu, I need a distro that understands me and works with me, not against me!

I’ve tried to work around my frustrations, tried to convince myself that maybe if I had a faster laptop we could be happy together, but I can’t help thinking about the older generation PC in my hackerspace running Arch that Just Works, and Just Works without having to wait several minutes for Prusa Slicer to load. I realise that I can’t go on living a lie, I need to move on and find a distro that gives me the performance and stability I crave.

I need you to know that I didn’t jump to this conclusion in an instant. I kept the faith, I kept hoping every fresh distribution update would fix your shortcomings, and I even defended you when confronted with the other, leaner, distros my friends use. But I sense we’ve passed the point of no return, and a relationship built on frustration is no way to live. Let’s remember the good times, writing an article lying in a hammock at BornHack, or cracking how to number-crunch millions of words of corpus text on a mundane laptop. We traveled a long way together, and for that I’m grateful.

The transition will be painless enough, I won’t even uninstall you. Instead I have a new SSD in the mail, and I’ll transfer you in your drive to your own caddy. We’ll still see each other from time to time, and maybe if you can Snap out of your midlife crisis one day we’ll get back together. Meanwhile, thanks for all the good things you allowed me to do over the years, and I hope your maintainers can help you through your current difficulties.


Jenny List

280 thoughts on “Dear Ubuntu…

    1. I would say that BEING ABLE to have useful CLI time and to edit configs is one of the major points of running Linux for those of us who live primarily in GUI-land. Mostly we want stuff to simply work and work well. Using a terminal, either because there’s no GUI alternative or because the command line is just faster and easier, is not a problem for most of us at all. HAVING to open a terminal to troubleshoot and fix things that used to ‘just work’ before an ‘upgrade’ initiated by some developer who believes that function follows form rather than the other way around, or that testing is for users, is a PITA and a loss of productivity.

          1. Default is no, but systemd stuff present to make it optional.
            I have done a fair bit of distro hopping over the years, MX has been my daily for some time now, rock solid, keen Devs, although I am still fond of puppy for old hardware.

          2. MX linux is running awesomely on my laptop with an atom CPU and 2GB of RAM. It has literally turned a machine I was afraid of not being capable of using anymore into a daily driver.

            All of that, while providing me great GUI tools and practicality in comparison to distros like debian or arch.

          3. Lol, that distrowatch list is a joke. It is easily fooled. Someone at MX must be taking advantage of that to get more traffic their way. MX is meh, trust me.

        1. Some of the Linux command like tools are sacred and there really is no logical reason to spend time loading up a gui when you can bang it out in a terminal. Ubuntu is still a throwback favorite of mine, but it’s definitely lost it’s luster. Canonical seem to be laser focused on making Ubuntu the Mac-OS of Linux. It’s got to be so easy that it breaks traditional Linux design in the spirit of making things that *should* work like magic, but are broken and the development team spread too thin to fix all their users gripes. They basically drifted too far to the corporate world. The problem with flying too close to the sun is you burn up at the chance of doing something never seen before. I’ll still happily use the distro, but it’s not something I place faith in. I really don’t keep documents or important things on it, let alone allow myself to become dependent on snap.

          1. Have you ever tried Deepin Linux? I was surprised what they did in very short time based on Debian. I know some content is not open source anymore but most things are just working. Faaaast.

          2. > Canonical seem to be laser focused on making Ubuntu the Mac-OS of Linux.

            Of course a lot of the problem there lies with Gnome which also adopted the “opinionated design” philosophy that Apple subscribes to.

            With KDE it’s already a lot better because user choice is left, front and center there.

          3. You sort of drifted into the truth of all the various *nix systems ever invented. With one exception, they have all catered to the techy types that love digging around endlessly under the hood. Us computer types love to be able to tweak and change every little detail but are super quick to complain that our favorite peripheral doesn’t “just work”. Endless customization leads to endless compatibility problems. There has been really one major PC OS that managed to wrap up the complexity into a package your grandparents could use and that is Apple’s MACOS. The same things the geeks hate about MAC OS are the same things that make it easy to use and plug and play for the masses. What we call limitations and proprietary, Apple calls standardization and supportability. I write this coming all the way from the ms-dos vs vms days. Same arguments throughout the entire history of computing. You always have some balance between customization and standardization, also ease of use vs performance/flexibility. I contend that as in all industrial endeavors, things become more complex under the good and easier to use for the end user over time. The Ubuntu installation and peripheral compatibility you complain about today is light years ahead of a bare System V installation from 9 track tape and serial terminal setup back in the day. Just as a Windows setup today is light years ahead of the days of installing a TCP/IP stack on MS-DOS back in the 80s. Same arguments, different times.

            Starting your car today is pushing a button. Starting your car in the past might have envolved setting chokes, pumping accelerators based on temperature and your cars temper, and hoping it would start at -10f. However you could fix that old car with a screwdriver and a wrench with no microprocessors or software in sight.

            Over time you will amaze your friends with stories of actually needing drivers to be installed and regaling them with tales of how hard you had to work to do seemingly simple things. I have a good one about using Kermit with a custom built serial cable (not to mention figuring out a common file transfer protocol) to transfer a file between a PC and a Vax system with no compatible storage devices or network connections. Another good one about modifying big endian and little endian code to run on a mainframe and a PC because we were dealing with register manipulation. Totally ridiculous today but pretty cool fix at the time.

      1. I come from land of plenty, where everything just works and has GUI. Programs usually run fast, there are plenty of them, and only resource hogs can be slow, if your hardware doesn’t match requirements. CLI exists, but is almost never used. Editing config files? Only for some older pieces of software, usually to adjust for bigger resolutions. Come, join us, get Windows…

        1. For the CLI to be maximally useful, it needs to be underneath the GUI of everything, not just an emulated way to script things. And everything needs to be a file, and the parts of your OS need to be included. When your GUI program’s settings are stored in a text config file or files, all of a sudden it’s much easier to just get things set right and move on. Of course you should *live* in GUI mostly, but it should *work* on its own. Set the settings in GUI the first time, but make a copy of the config in case you need to repeat it. Or at minimum, at least make it *feasible* to write a script to configure things instead of everything requiring hands-on attention.

          With a half decent CLI underneath, you don’t need to jump through 37 different menus to find a setting, only to discover that part of what you need to do is a registry hack and part of it can be done by GPO if you download the right admx, but no matter what the user is going to call you because of a popup at login that you have to tell them to ignore because Windows doesn’t even work well enough to know what other parts of itself are doing.

          1. We used to have CLI that ran underneath the GUI. It was called DOS. It was dropped in NT line, and in main line since Windows 2000 or XP (I honestly can’t recall, which). No one in Windows land missed it.

            CLI doesn’t need to be underneath everything else. It should be just another program, or set of programs with access to file system. In normal operation it’s not used at all, as every common task can be done in GUI. You write about saving and/or copying config files. Usually we don’t do that because all programs come with default settings that don’t need changing at all. If I have to change settings, it takes LESS time to open proper menu and edit them. The only times I even bother with config files editing is when I need to change setting not included in GUI or one that needs different value then selectable options. For example in some older games I had to edit resolution because these were developed before 16:9 or 16:10 monitors and HD resolutions. In Civilization 6 I had to edit by hand one line in config file to boost font sizes beyond default options. And most of those files, including save files for games and other stuff live in particular set of folders known as %appdata% – a shortcut name to access them directly. My %appdata% migrated with me for over 15 years, 3 Windows versions and 4 hardware platforms.

            Linux/UNIX evolved over decades from early operating systems that ran on big mainframes and were operated via teletypes and later terminals. Despite the advance in technology most Linux users still behave and use it as if it was 1980’s. That’s why many “Linux for beginners” books I read has a few chapters on installing it, adding applications and using GUIs, which takes 1/4 to 1/3 of the book. Rest is dedicated to doing every common and basic task with CLI. Linux CLI – using arcane incantations and formulae to solve problems no one else has.

            Also most settings are 2 menu levels away from main app window. Rarely it’s more than 3. And I’ve never encountered anything that used more than 5 levels. Even Linux apps with GUIs designed by rabid typists usually don’t go beyond 3 levels of ugly, non-intuitive interface mess.

            Also what are and how to enable keyboard shortcuts in common Linux GUI’s to have a loupe, text-to-speech or just to invert colors? You know, useful accessibility options.

          2. I use it! It runs things, and doesn’t completely fail that often. You can put in enough effort to remove or disable many of the worst anti-features people hate. But without a bunch of extra stuff that isn’t part of the normal install, Windows does *weird* stuff and stupid fixes that shouldn’t work often do, for no particular reason. And there’s a lot of times you find out the way to solve some weird issue is to screw with the registry manually, which usually means shit is going to break over and over.

            As for config files, I think you missed the part where I said that they should, as part of living in the GUI most of the time, be a reflection of what you set through GUI.

            And if you’re studying big books about the nitty gritty of Linux and thinking that’s a typical way to use a Linux distro, that’s just silly. Install one of the popular easy ones, live in the GUI, and read a wiki if you need to know how to do something like everyone else.

            For accessibility, I’d hit the super key and type accessibility, assuming I was on Mint.

        2. Windows, roflmao. Never in a million billion years thank you. I escaped it in the XP days and I will never go back. Not having to run anti programs that protect against security flaws is reason enough, then there is the freedom to make my OS whatever I want. Try removing and replacing the file manager in Windows.

          1. Well, much changed since Windows XP. So you should just try Windows 10. Just for a week. Get a spare HDD/SSD so not to pollute your pure Linux box and use it. Later you can burn it or drop into ocean (if you have any nearby). I tried Linux, many times.

            Why Linux has file manager and Windows has file explorer? Because in Linux land files need a babysitter that would manage them. Linux users never use them anyway, as in Linux land everything worth doing is worth doing in CLI.

        3. Long time Linux nerd here. Sadly, there is some truth to this. I’m of the opinion that Win 10 is really, really good. Smoothest, most stable OS I’ve ever used. Even mature Linux distros STILL struggle with unpredictable errors that sometimes slow down my work flow. I don’t get it. Bizarre notifications from flatpaks? Yup, KDE. Unusable hiDPI? Yup, XFCE. At least Ubuntu’s implementation of Gnome is sane and more or less functional for anyone who uses their computer for stuff other than watching full-screen videos. Win 11? Nah, just Win 10 with a new coat of paint and less useful defaults.

          1. I don’t plan to switch to Windows 11, it smells too much like Vista.

            There is a reason why Linux is much less popular than Windows. And it’s stems from one of its fundamental rule: freedom of choice. That’s why there are 4 or 6 Linux families, each with dozens upon dozens of different distributions, and a dozen of GUIs to pick from. So each distro and each GUI needs a developer or entire team of developers. This spreads resources thin. And because Linux developers are also Linux users, used to CLI and the status quo, they don’t really think about user experience from the perspective of the beginner. People behind Ubuntu tried to fix that. Didn’t work out that well.

            Windows is not perfect, it has its flaws. For example in some programs I have problems with correct font rendering – they broke font scaling and rendering somewhat. On my older PC I had driver issues with integrated sound card – microphone input didn’t work. I tried OpenSUSE, but UI was too small for my sight. I ended up buying USB headphones which worked on Windows. I don’t remember any other issues with Windows for the past 5+ years…

          2. Everybody talks about the beginners, but more seasoned users don’t want to be mucking about with CLI either.

            The difference is that when you’re a programmer, you’re used to typing a lot of arcane commands and you can shake a dictionary’s worth of regular expressions out of your sleeve. You know the syntax exactly because you’ve written it a thousand times, so you don’t have to look at man pages or google for instructions to know how something is done. Regular users, beginners or otherwise, are not like that. They don’t poke at the innards of the operating system or the software they use all day long – they simply use it – so anything involving CLI or config files and scripts takes 100x longer even if they knew approximately what they were doing.

            If you have to open a config file or a terminal window to accomplish a common tasks on your desktop computer, you have failed as a desktop operating system, because it’s equivalent to having to pull the front panel off your dishwasher to change the program.

          3. I used to use a Linux desktop, basic X11 with twm and such, then KDE and others when they came around. When OS X came out, I went to the Apple store to check it out and opened a terminal session. I was sold. I used NeXTSTEP back in university on the magnesium cubes, and it was great. Jobs brought a lot of those elements to OS X. I haven’t messed with Linux desktop since, not much.

            However, I work with Linux systems daily. They are all headless now. The only Linux GUIs I interact with are remote headless jump hosts. I’ve been very happy with the Mac desktop system, but unfortunately Apple is merging their iCrap with the desktop OS more and more. We’ll see how bad it gets. The only Windows I use is for software that requires it (in a VM) or my corporate laptop, where WSL2 is installed, and to which I RDP from my Mac.

            As a software engineer/architect/manager all my real work is done in Linux (or cloud based tools). Linux on servers, Linux in cloud instances in AWS/Azure/GCP, Linux hosts with Kubernetes and containers. I like my desktop having a stable GUI that I don’t have to mess with, mainly for a web browser and terminal sessions to where I do my real work.

            Someone else wrote about ye olden days. I used to work on Cray supercomputers (pre-SGI) and we used Sun workstations to develop and cross compile the software and then execute on the Y-MP or T-90 or T3D or what have you. I used real Unix, BSD and System V, on Gould and VAX and other machines, accessed via ADM-5 or Wyse 50 terminals or Sun workstations if lucky. It’s funny how little has changed. My desktop is not where I do my real work. It’s on Some Other Computer I access remotely. I used to use Mosaic on those Sun workstations and telnet into machines, now it’s Firefox or Chrome and I ssh in.

        4. DON’T get Windows. I have to work with it each and every day and I hate it. Imagine an OS that – after ~40 years – is not capable to shift-scroll left to right! That alone would be a reason for me to switch. And there are so many other, technically more severe reasons. From the inability to correctly handle a mix of displays with different zoom factors to the totally broken option to place the swap file on anything but C:. It is a mess. It is a swamp.
          The bitter truth is that there are so many echo systems like the Adobe suite that force you to use Win. Very sad.

          1. The reason, why major software packages are Windows exclusive is because there are too many Linux variants and GUIs to develop for them. Because of that market share of Linux is too small to support development costs.

          2. I have a page file on each and every one of my physical and logical drives… and I have for years. Not that windows is perfect, but that’s not a real problem. And you can download a program to add that shortcut for your scrolling, although I never had the need to scroll left or right. Biggest windows issue to me is when it decides its going to suddenly restart for updates in the middle of me working on something. What???!! Give me a big timer I can’t cancel so I can save things, don’t just suddenly reboot!!

          3. “Biggest windows issue to me is when it decides its going to suddenly restart for updates in the middle of me working on something. What???!! Give me a big timer I can’t cancel so I can save things, don’t just suddenly reboot!!”

            This used to boil my blood too, since I had to use a Windows system for live performances (only place the software I needed would run, otherwise I’d have been on Linux for this too), and it would invariably decide the middle of a gig was the right time to update. My fix was to enable the “don’t reboot during working hours” option, then run a job every 8 hours in the task scheduler that would reset the working hours bracket to “an hour ago to 10 hours from now” (there was, at one time, a limit of 11 hours). Never saw an unplanned reboot on it again.

          4. I’ve never had the situation where Windows 10 forced or auto-started an update, there was always the choice to defer it or to schedule it.

            Just sayin’. Windows is on my daily driver laptop, but Linux is on my other dedicated PCs.

          5. You’ve been able to move the Windows page file (their name for swap) since the XP days at least, but more more importantly:
            Why do you need swap?!
            8GB of DDR4 can be had for less than £16 these days, and that’s enough to run most programs (even Chrome with lots of tabs open), *without* needing to swap. If your machine is swapping, then you need to think about upgrading your RAM. It’s not 1998 any more, RAM is cheap.

        5. Bought a new machine with Win10 preinstalled. After it wouldn’t allow a login without an Internet connection I decided to read the EULA and Privacy Statements. (110 pages and 60 pages) Unplugged the HDD, replaced it with a larger, clean one and installed Zorin. I use Windows 10 at work and am reasonably happy with it. Why not at home? Because I don’t think MicroSoft should have rights to everything on MY machine that uses THEIR operating system. Read the documents! In short they say “What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine.”

        6. >> Come, join us, get Windows…
          Forced upgrades? “Strongly encouraged” transition to rentware, AKA “Office 365”, AKA “Software As A Service”? Making it difficult to sign into the computer without the Microsoft account which I refuse to have? Advertising baked into the OS? Continual attempts to force the user onto Edge, to the point where MS ought to name it “Wedge” instead? No thanks!

          I run Linux Mint with XFCE. I have few problems, and I enjoy computing. As for “just works”, my last real Windows experience – admittedly back in the XP days – was not as problem free as my Linux experience is now.

          I do sometimes wish Linux had a registry – I know that’s heresy to some Linux folks, but I see it as one of Windows’ few advantages. That gave me one location to customize things – and I did a fair bit of registry hacking under 2K and XP. But for me, even in the absence of a registry, Linux’s advantages make it far, far superior to anything Redmond has to offer.

          1. “Forced upgrades? “Strongly encouraged” transition to rentware, AKA “Office 365”, AKA “Software As A Service”?”

            Office pro 2021. Real cheap if one looks around.

        7. “Where everything just works” – I really can’t believe somebody actually wrote that about Windows, without sarcasm.

          I’ll just leave this here – this popped up in my newsfeed today.

          “Microsoft’s Surface Pro X cameras have stopped working for everyone”

          oh and here’s an oldie but a goodie – it resulted in me spending nearly 2 weeks trying to diagnose a Surface Book 2 blue screen issue that happened repeatedly, even after full reinstalls of everything. I thought it was hardware – nope, turns out Microsoft had just decided to send unstable updates to anybody who clicked on “Get Updates” in Windows.

          If you want a stable desktop operating system with a stable GUI that you don’t have to worry about, choose a Mac. If you want a stable desktop operating system with a choice of GUIs and the ability to tinker under the hood, choose Linux.

          If on the other hand you want to play games or you don’t care about a stable operating system, choose Windows. Hey, at least it comes with a shortcut to Candy Crush pre-installed!

          1. Is the “Blue Screen of death” still around. I thought Microsoft finally figured that out in the 90’s. Time changes but Windoz does not….

        8. >> So you should just try Windows 10. Just for a week.
          >> Get a spare HDD/SSD so not to pollute your pure Linux box and use it.
          >> Later you can burn it or drop into ocean (if you have any nearby).
          >> I tried Linux, many times.

          The following is an honest question. Every time I’ve tried to understand windows licensing, I’ve never achieved any kind of clarity (but have gotten serious headaches). I’m assuming that if you are saying Win10 should be evaluated for a week, then the idea would be that it should be placed into full use if found to be OK.

          I’m genuinely curious, how would one go about getting a new legally licensed and activated Win10 installed on anything (without some kind of already-existing volume license agreement)? Extra points if the installation could be legally transferred over time to completely new hardware (no OEM limitations). Double extra points if that did not require asking the vendor’s permission to legally use the OS on the new hardware. Triple extra points if the method described would allow easy and legal installation on a VM.

          1. Easy points. If you live in EU, you can legally buy second hand W10 licenses from assorted websites for 3-5$/€ and you can resell it or move it wherever and whenever you want, bonus, you can still even activate W11 with it even if it’s not advertised. Only software that can’t be traded/transfered like that in EU is subscription based software (so you can’t resell eg Adobe Cloud or O365). So you can get MS Office Professional (not cloud) for another 5-7$/€, and often in bundles with W10/11.

            If outside EU, you can buy new RETAIL Windows 10, which is transferable as well, but you’ll pay full price of 100-150$ most likely. Keep in mind this is valid just for retail licenses.

        9. “CLI … No one in Windows land missed it.”
          I missed it.
          I spent years maintaining batch files for streaming and downloading podcasts before they were called podcasts.
          I made batch files to mimic commands I’d learned in a UNIX shop because they were just so much more efficient.
          #2. You mentioned something about keyboard shortcuts that was unintelligible.
          As a power user, keyboard shortcuts are a vital part of productivity. W7 removed some of the functionality and then W10 just wrenched them all away like a bully and spit in my face! In Windows world, your mouse is indispensable. I’ve spent years in remote locations using my work laptop on a music stand and trying to manage a mouse on whatever surface I can find, including a trash bag, or my pants, while you lounged comfortably in an ergonomic desk chair with a bowl of candy on your desk and free Keurig coffee in your favorite mug.
          I often work with three apps open on my little 19″ laptop screen and if I have to minimize all of my windows to click on an obscure icon, I don’t want to lose track of where I was working, so I use keyboard shortcuts.
          In the old days, I would hit START, then a letter or number key to open a commonly used app.
          If I want to use a keyboard shortcut now, I have to put my mouse down and use 3 or more fingers to activate something that I had to cobble together from a desktop shortcut. At this time, I’ve limited myself to only 2 shortcuts because it is such a pain to create one and the allowable keystrokes are limited.
          #3. Windows doesn’t just work. If it did, I wouldn’t have switched.
          2000 was the last best Windows, and even that came with sleepless nights where I worked diligently to disinfect and clean all of the spyware and viruses that kept creeping in.
          The only thing I miss about Windows is Excel. So that is sad.
          But it is offset by the tremendous freedom I have to go online and not constantly get infected.

          1. I am amazed by all the people that keep comparing Win95/2000/XP to today’s Linux. If you’d actually try modern Windows you’d see your views are heavily skewed.

            I use Windows as my primary OS, but use Linux both at work and at home for things it’s better at. And I honestly don’t get all the fuss about Windows. Microsoft never stole, sold, or leaked my personal information. Don’t crack games and download weird stuff from sketchy sites, and you won’t get a virus. I haven’t used antivirus at home PCs for at least a decade, and I’m still fine (I do let Windows use built in Defender, because – why not). Am also always “root” on all my PCs. No fuss.

            As for Linux, even current, it’s certainly still not all roses. Just a year ago I had trouble getting 4K TV to show picture over HDMI. Weird thing, Ubuntu 16.04 worked, but anything newer did not. So much for rosy world. Is it fixable? Yes. Is it a bad bug? Yes. Is it ignored? Yes.

            Anyway, to each their own, I use best of both worlds, as I use best tool for a given task. If I game I’ll do it on Windows, if I use office docs, Windows+MS Office, if I need web server I’ll bring up an Ubuntu or Debian VM, if I need to do weird stuff and parsing huge logs, I’ll use Linux as well, if I need to browse something I’ll just use whatever is at hand (most likely Android phone), and so on, years ago when I had to publish iOS apps, I used Mac for that (obviously, not even a choice). I don’t belittle other OSs, as I know all of them have their strengths, and all of them have their weaknesses, and none of them is 100% anything (neither perfect, nor secure, not best performing at everything, etc).

            Anyway, I just wish people would actually try new modern OS, and compare it to competitive modern OS of today, not spew information 2 decades old, or base their opinions on one time issues ir something they read about somewhere on the Internet (God forbid).

            As for Ubuntu, they clearly stepped on too many toes recently, Red Hat as well, so I think we’ll soon be seeing mass migrations of all kamps (back) to Debian and other more friendly distros based on it. Corporate just got greedy… Ubuntu is slowly going wrong way, pushing ads (Ubuntu Pro), forcing system changes (Snaps), deprecating stuff that was actually useful (net install ISOs), doing one step forward two steps back a bit too much (eg installer)… It will still be great OS for some things, but others are already chipping away it’s market share.

          2. @Luka Pribanić
            Sorry that I wasn’t more clear.
            I DO use Win11 every day at work.
            And I have noticed that the virus problem has largely gone away.
            So that’s nice.
            But I still can’t do proper keyboard shortcuts as a power user must do.
            However, it is very interesting that most of what I do has been taken over by iPhone apps, so I don’t get to play with Windows as much as I used to only two years ago.
            And, also btw, I do NOT surf in dangerous places on my WORK laptop, as it is severely frowned upon by my huge evil corporation. I have, unfortunately been a victim of the drive-by click-hijacking that was a problem several years ago. My laptop had to be re-imaged and restored. When the same thing happened on my Linux machine, I had to reboot my browser – that was all – a win for Linux.
            But I do Linux now.
            It’s free – I don’t have to bootleg it to get it free. It’s just free.
            I can tailor it to my needs. I have a nice Conky window.
            I’m still getting used to LibreOffice, but then I had to get used to Excel, when I switched away from Syncalc on my 8-bit Atari.
            I do Linux now.
            And I like being safe.
            Have a great weekend!

        10. I don’t want slow, bloated, bug ridden, security-compromised, proprietary, expensive, telemetry gathering trash like Windows, thanks. ‘Just works’ – i think not. We use it in our enterprise and it’s a wonder any business is able to run on it it’s that buggy.

          1. “We use it in our enterprise[…]” – wonder why, when it’s so useless?
            “and it’s a wonder any business is able to run on it it’s that buggy.” – but business IS able, amirite? wonder why, when it’s so useless?

    2. I feel you. I personally had a good time on 22.04 but 23 feels so heavy weight. Almost nothing feels lite the way 22.04. Anyway this might be the “fear for change” talking but I think Ubuntu maintainers should take your concern seriously.

    1. This is the letter I might have written a year or so ago. After a long distro hop I landed with Manjaro and never looked back. It wasn’t just Ubuntu, I had grown past the Debian world, but Ubuntu was where I left.

      1. That’s my way exactly.

        Last Windows was XP after that:
        – knoppix live CD
        – knoppix installed side to side with XP (do not install knoppix ;o) )
        – debian (yesss, but nvidia problems)
        – ubuntu LTS (flawless at first)
        – manjaro til now (could muster enough strength to install arch ;o) )

        And since my knoppix days spend most of my time in the terminal, unbeatable.

      2. Not to spoil your parade, but Manjaro isn’t exactly the best, even though it offers a decent out of box Arch based experience. Their repos have a seemingly random delay to them compared to Arch stable, which can break AUR applications that assume that everything is the latest version offered in Arch stable, for example. This is fixable by changing over to Manjaro’s unstable repos, which are equivalent to Arch stable. However, Manjaro themselves has also allowed SSL certificates to expire for their website(s) about a half dozen times, which is especially egregious because it’s god damn trivial nowadays to automate and just speaks to general bad management. They’ve also unintentionally DDOSed the AUR a couple times, due to some changes they had made in pamac where they apparently didn’t properly think through the consequences.

        I would recommend EndeavourOS instead, it uses arch’s own repos where able, making it a much more stable experience compared to Manjaro, and their management isn’t wearing their underpants on their head.

    2. They comes a time in life where you out grow training wheels. They become excess baggage, get in the way, weigh you down, and hold you back.

      The problem with Ubuntu is people grow up.

    1. Same here. I was a Xubuntu user, so switching to Debian+XFCE was just a matter of installing a few desktop themes (and the Plank desktop bar). And it has proven to be a very fruitful relation for me.

      1. 100 percent agree to this. I got hooked with the second release of Ubuntu very very long ago and I share all the positives for a living time. The last couple of years it was downhill for me. Everything looks great but it’s slow and I cannot even open some streaming videos because the laptop gets very hot and freezes. If love to get the snappiness from the first 10 years back and a machine that doesn’t crash applications almost every day. Even Windows on my work laptop works better these days unfortunately.

    2. Debian Sid if you want to stay with apt (it’s what Ubuntu is based on iirc) and are OK with maybe a bit more config files (probably not that many more though…)

      Fedora if you’re OK with swapping to a different package manager and want to stay on a dist that’s easy to manage.

      Arch if you’re OK with changing packaging managers and like config files.

      Gentoo if you have more time than you know what to do with (I honestly don’t know how bad compile times are these days – I switched to Arch after 10 years with Gentoo about 10 years ago).

      1. I had Gentoo until like 4 years ago and yeah, the compile times are terrible. Easily like two hours for the big packages (Firefox, KDE…), which you have to update on every minor release. Like maybe if you like to leave your computer on during the night and wake up to a fresh new computer you might like it, but I didn’t want to burn my processor, so I moved to Debian and never looked back.

        1. LOL @ you kiddos these days… two friggin hours for a “big package” = “terrible” and “overnight-it!” I remember medium packages that two hours into compilation, with zero indication of progress, one decided they were rendered computerless for an indeterminant amount of time, tried to entertain themselves with TV, got bored, and went to bed early for the first time maybe ever, woke several times in the night fresh and ready to compute, only to find that the compilation had either failed, or was still running… then waiting around until minutes before running to the last bus for work.

    3. I am with Jenny too. I have long since progressed to other flavors. I find Windows to be faster now than Ubuntu; and would rather run FreeBSD! In reality I alternate between Fedora and openSuSE.

      But yes, I started on Ubuntu too and left it when Snap reared it’s ugly head.

    4. I left Ubuntu when they switched to Unity. Best thing I ever did. Ubuntu was getting slower and more problems with each release, from what I have read it hasnt gotten better. I went to Mint at first and stayed with it for a few years. Its a better distro and uses the same base packages. A few years ago I went to Manjaro stable. Great distro. Different than the Debian based ones but with a lot of good features. Rolling release is way better. You never have to reinstall.

  1. This is apparently not a usual use case, but I like having constantly used programs as quick launch icons at the bottom of the screen, and every time snaps update, those break. So irritating. I’m glad to apt-get upgrade things, and I get why not having to deal with dependencies makes snaps attractive, but ugh they sure can be frustrating.

    1. Ubuntu has always been a clutter and a mess, their only merit was to package up-to-date programs faster than the others…
      Ubuntu is kinda the Windows
      I gave it a go when Debian was lagging behind, but since then I quickly came back to my fav debian. Easy to manage, solid as a rock, and while not so slim like Slack, still pretty decent.
      A pretty deeply customized Tinycore Linux is also quite clean.

  2. Dear Patrick Volkerding,

    Just writing to thank you for 25 years of computational bliss. Your consitent text-mode install, your reliable updates, your standard KDE, over 10 years of consistent TXZ packaging, and a lifetime of SysV make me love you all the more. Furthermore, I would like to thank your steadfast consistency in support of Unix. My daily prayers to Alien Bob via the Church of the SubGenius always include my pleas for your eternal life and health.

    And did you know that systemd is over a million LOC? Just sayin.

    Love and Peace through superior computational power,

    1. What is the status of Slackware now? Last news on slackware page is over a year old. Slapt-get still works? how to fairly easily keep system up to date? I really think to come back to Slack but last time I use it was 2006.

      1. Like what? I would love to see what systemd solved.

        I get what I never got with sysv: unskippable (without sysrq) infinite timeout (which change to 1:30 to 3:20 then 5:10 etcc) when a service get stuck.
        A resolver failing to resolve.

        Did you ever hear of rsyslog ?

      1. I’ll explain. I’m a RHEL/Rocky/Alma person myself, so when I work on Ubuntu I get really crappy performance. Given the large number of folks who sing the praises of Ubuntu, I have been wondering if I’m configuring something incorrectly. As it turns out, I’m not the only one with complaints.

  3. I agree completely. Also I’ve had absolutely bizarre experiences with Snaps, beyond just poor performance.
    I have a 16C/32T Xeon that Snaps simply will not run on. Multiple bare metal clean installs, playing with virtualization settings in the BIOS, nothing. They just don’t run. It’s the weirdest thing.

  4. Well said. Too Much Flash and hype need more that works instead of none trusted PPA. Just let me decide what is trusted!!! Need software install that works and you don’t need to wait for a maintainer to upgrade. Also need flatpak and .application files to install / compile with out using the command line. Gui’s are the future.

  5. I find myself in the same boat – I’ve used Ubuntu (generally the Xubuntu flavor since my first hardware was low-powered and it fit well) for a very long time. I generally live on LTS so updates are less invasive. But I spend more and more time figuring out how to obliterate snap (and I don’t consider flatpak an improvement either), side-load things and load up the PPAs so I can stick with apt-get, etc. I’m not systemd-averse, per se, and it actually does make a few things easier, but it also overcomplicates in so many ways (and since the legacy code is still present, it can be difficult to tell where new problems actually lie).

    I haven’t experienced the hanging and bloating to the extent Jenny mentions, but I’m getting close to falling back to straight Debian and XFCE; it’s closer to parity with my RPi experience.

    1. If it’s a use case suited to them Flatpak is much better than Snap. Until recently I was vehemently against them but after using Flatpak for desktop apps I’m impressed and won’t be going back. The real problem comes in when they’re used for whatever the distro counts as core OS components.

  6. Gui’s are the future. But access to a CLI are also important. In the future AI will rule so CLI’s will be their easiest access to a machine. For now Snaps need to be fixed, A GUI compile solution with dependencies automatically installed needs to be created, flatpak and .appimage needs to be intergrated into Snaps, and this nonsense about not allowing a PPA to download files without just a warning is only good for commercial customers not every day users.

    1. I don’t understand. GUIs are the present, and a CLI is for people. APIs are for programs. This is what AI would use, right?

      Warnings about using untrusted software are ubiquitous. I don’t recall any annoying warnings using PPAs. Perhaps I am just so used to it that I don’t even remember (?)

      1. The CLI is like the “API” of the OS though. By having a good text interface for everything, you allow easy scripting instead of requiring someone to sit at a screen clicking things every time, or having to reinvent the wheel in writing an automated version.

        I guess if you are happy to run whatever code an AI gives you without looking at it, you’d ask the AI things using text or speech to text, which amounts to the same thing. I’m not, so I don’t fully understand that part either.

    1. Been on Mint for a few years. It seems zippy enough for me. Installed easily on my Dell Latitude 7480. I’m generally satisfied with it, but that’s not to say that I have issues every now and then. Mostly with older releases of apps in the repository.

      1. I started abandoning WIndows years ago for Linux. Yes, one of the strengths of Linux is its elastic configurability, but most of my computers are tools, not science projects. I wanted a distro that installs and works with defaults that most closely match my personal preferences. For me that’s Mint.

        Mint gets better and better with every release. With PlayOn Linux, it runs some of my legacy Windows apps better than when they were on native Windows!

      2. I Have 2 different versions of Mint, one on the desk PC and the other on the laptop. Both versions are EOL’d, which means a complete install to upgrade. Instead of doing that, I am considering Devuan.
        I like(d) Mint, it was easy to forget about the EOL because they were working fine. But now 3rd party apps no longer work.

        1. How old is your Mint that you can’t upgrade?

          At least from Mint 18 you can upgrade to the latest Mint 21, just need to upgrade to each major release in turn.

    2. Been dailying Mint since Ubuntu put an Amazon button in the taskbar, I’ve now even got non-techie relatives on it and it just works – I’ve pretty much had zero of the dreaded “tech support” calls.

      It gave my mum’s old PC an extra 5 years once her version of Windows expired, and she’s now using it on a recycled iMac which also works with no hassle.

      Even her crappy cheap multi-function Wifi printer just works, which I was expecting to have to battle with.

      Only thing I use Windows for is Altium and that is inside an old Windows VM.

  7. I’m with you with an Acer C710 Chromebook (“PARROT”) that was hacked with new firmware. Initially it was good with GalliumOS, but time ran out for those devs. I moved to Xubuntu, having put it on my main laptop then my main PC (replacing Gentoo).

    Then, last year, Snaps hit and Ubuntu drank the cool-aid. It got so bad, I switched the Chromebook to Linux Mint. I regained speed, and with more and more vital items becoming Snaps I jumped ship last year on the rest of my installs.

    It’s a server distro now.

  8. I’ll buck the trend as I’ve not had any significant problems with (K)Ubuntu. I was a Red Hat fan from around RH 4.0 or so. Started with Slack on a stack of floppies before that… But then moved to Mint as I didn’t like the 6 month Fedora update cycle and wanted an LTS. But back when the first AMD Ryzen processors came out (I got a 1600), Mint would not run. So switched over to latest LUbuntu which did. At some point I switched to KUbuntu as KDE ‘finally’ was in a state that was usable. Been on a KUbuntu LTS ever since on all my systems including laptops. No M$ to be found. All my RPIs run PI OS.

    As for snap Firefox. It just works as usual. Not slow at all as some report, at least on my systems. Only thing I don’t like is I have to use ‘snap refresh’ to update it rather than just get it through ‘apt update/upgrade’ process.

    Only thing that seems to be a pain at the command line is learning the ‘new’ network settings files that were so easy to setup before :( . Never understood why someone had to re-invent the wheel.

    All the applications I run, work great on KUbuntu, so sticking with it for now. Runs appImage files just fine too (FreeCad for example) .

    1. (K)Ubuntu is what I’ve heard the Canonical team uses themselves. I have a list of distros im considering. My recent look landed me on KAOSX which is a 64bit, QT, KDE distro down about number 53 on DistroWatch. I’ve liked it so far but if I’m going to stay I need to figure out how to make it look nice and more how to compile their user apps or get that to run flatpacks.
      My current list of maybe I’ll migrate to is
      MX linux
      Manjaro, not sure how well KDE is there.
      Mint same KDE issue.
      OpenSUSE And
      I guess I have to make a table with the apps I need, stuff I want and then compare the internals. I’m leaning rolling or close to rolling so MINT is lower on that list.

  9. I have been running Fedora for years and it’s actually pretty solid. Sure, there are occasional annoyances, but those usually stem from GNOME team having rather weird priorities. You can upgrade either every 6 months or put it off and upgrade yearly, which is what I usually end up doing. It sure is nice to have recent software even without snap or flatpak. Just make sure to visit RPM Fusion right after the install.

  10. I keep 3 different versions of firefox open simultaneously, and over the years I’ve noted that hanging became worse. A week ago I noticed that each firefox had 1.2 Gbytes of history. Clear history and the hanging disappeared.

    I won’t use Ubuntu — I tried it once and an auto-update made my laptop unbootable — but OS bloat isn’t the only source of poor system performance.

  11. I chose mint as my daily many years ago, after getting a bit annoyed with modern hardware on Debian. I can configure it, but my times better spent, especially on computers in work where I need them to just work, still have no complaints with mint, and I didn’t move too far from my Debian roots, if you have went arch that’s cool, if you fancy a sidestep from Ubuntu, mint is always there.

  12. You might want to try a preemptive real time kernel. There are two downsides to keep in mind. It will use more slightly more power (constant rapid swapping between tasks is not free) and the average throughput when transferring large amounts of data about will be a tiny bit slower than a traditional Linux kernel. But the upside is an extremely responsive OS.

    I recently setup a RPi as a NTP server with a GPS and patched the kernel to be RT ( ref: and ). The latency on all tasks are at least 50% less. Instead of a time critical task taking more than 4 microseconds to happen, they now happening in less than 2 microseconds.

  13. Ubuntu is my home for the moment but I’m not a fan of it saying I have 4gb of ram when I have 8 🤣🤣 but it seems natural to me but it has got slower over the years and I’m sure snap is to blame but I use several snap apps so I guess I’ll see where it goes

    1. Yes. I was long term Ubuntu user then faced various issues so distro hopped to an arch flavor called Namib. Used that for about a year then faced issues with updates (causing package manager to break completely – arch package manager is usually solid)

      Hopped to void Linux. It’s systemd free. There is a bit of a learning curve. E.g. services need to be enabled manually by creating a symbolic link.

      Performance is great. Just had a couple of instances in the past two years where there was a bit of a lag. Updating and clearing brave browser cache, user directory cache did the trick. Even then I put laptop to sleep then next morning performance was back to normal. Laptop just needed a bit of a rest?? LoL.

      Tried Ubuntu again about a year ago. Errors were popping up on desktop. The oom-killer drove me up the wall. Leaving laptop to make a coffee, come back and important app (I was running file recovery app) had closed of it own accord.

    2. Feels like validation to me, I think Ubuntu peaked around 16.xx and 18.xx was it’s WindowsME… 20.xx signaled a lack of commitment to ironing out kinks and niggles in favor of broken as designed “big new ideas” 22.xx sorta kinda kludged the worst of it… but now you were needing 8x the CPU power that 16.xx would run nice on (Which IMO was 1.5Ghz single core up, 2GB up)

      Call me lazy if you like, but I just want something that is a cookie cutter usable install in 2 hours or less, and does not need user script and config file debugging for days, weeks afterwards. Also the “break stuff that’s more than 5 years old” switch needs to be strapped to off and epoxied. I am so damn tired of getting sent to help files, forum threads, for things written when it last worked when it was the immediately following release that broke it, been broke for the last three, and everybody acts like it’s a solved problem, because of that one time it worked some years back, before Y was fixed on 13.xx and Z got broke in 15.xx or whatever. Windows has better backward compatibility these days, too much enthusiasm in Ubuntu and Linux in general now to burn bridges. Used to have a sliding 10 year window at least of stuff that should work, now it’s 3 if you’re lucky.

      One might ask “What do you expect from people writing code for free?”
      My response is. “Some damn respect for the other people that wrote code for free several years ago, stop devaluing their work.”

    3. yeah, me too. Just this morning I had an IRL meeting with my laptop, running 22.04 LTS. As I’m logging in, I didn’t notice that after the latest round of apt package upgrades, gdm reset itself to use Wayland again, which subtly broke all of the input devices on my touchscreen Latitude. Then I get logged back in after that and snap updates Gnome, turning off all my extensions mid-session. While I’m trying to do a show-and-tell. It was an embarrassment.

      (I also fired up some embedded machines for the first time in a few months today, and snapd immediately filled their filesystems to 0 free.)

  14. I, too, have witnessed Ubuntu getting more bloated and unstable over the last 20 years of daily usage. The question remains: Where to next? I don’t want a source-based distro, ain’t got no time for that. I could easily move to Debian sid to stay closer to the leading edge of app versions, and am just as comfortable in Debian as Ubuntu. But it is well known that Debian is slow to progress, sid is by design unstable, and raw Debian is not as desktop-friendly. I love Debian’s stability, which is due to that slow upgrade schedule, but I like my desktop to be running relatively new app versions. Before Ubuntu, I used Suse, having found it to be the best OOTB desktop experience at the time, but I’m not really sure of the state of that distro right now, seems rarer to see people using it these days. I could switch to Fedora, as I also manage a decent handful of CentOS machines (which is a whole ‘nother problem) and am reasonably comfortable with that platform, but I think that’s been just as bloat-prone as Ubuntu in the last 10 years. I could switch to Mint, but my forays into that have been fraught with instability. So where is a person to go for Linux goodness without hassle? Is it the Year of the Linux Desktop ™ yet?

  15. I decided for myself to continue to use Ubuntu, but without the snaps. There are scripts to unsnap and there are PPAs to replace snapped packages, but I actually went for KDE Neon (distro), which is plain latest Ubuntu LTS release with the latest KDE packages (without snap).

    1. Completely agree. I find Ubuntu with snap a complete disgrace. These days I simply remove snap and then add apt repositories for Firefox, Google Chrome, Dropbox, Zoom, and many others. The faster reaction time of the apt version of the same programs is extremely noticeable. I cannot understand who would want to use the default version of Ubuntu anymore. The great Ubuntu experience is still there but very few users will now know how to experience it

    2. I could not relate at all to Jenny’s letter until I remembered that after some stupid issue (one program not being able to call another, I think running Gimp from an “edit image” menu) meant I was done with snaps and I removed and disabled it. Two years or so ago. I just upgraded to 23.04 and was pleasantly surprised at how painless the install was (my first foray into non-LTS since maybe 2014), ánd it without much fuss solved the problem (citrix being unusable) that the LTS had.
      Must say I’ve never used “U” but always “K”ubuntu, but I think they’re the same apart from GUI.

  16. Thank you, Jenny List for purging some demons.

    Like you wrote it so well, it feels like some sort of a love story that came to an end because it was untenable, too much struggles with the system, not enough respect for my ego-processor. I hate to say it, but seeing this beautiful operating system the other day didn’t help. We had an affair few years ago, Arch an I, but I came back to dpkg for its popularity. Ubuntu took me back, but not without compromise. It deepened its toxic relationship with Snap and I knew in my heart that it would be the end. All this time I’ve been obsessed and I tried to believed in us, to inject some new RAM in our lives.

    Then I was so sad, that I took some Nix.

    And here I am, reading you and realizing that “I am what I am because of who we all are”. Part of a wunded community in search for the recomfort of a potent `pacman`.

    Thank you again for you words that may help some changes. At least in my computer.

    1. Love the way you carried the spirit of the original letter along there. Funny stuff.

      But I’m really responding to ask you: is Nix viable as a daily driver? How is package support? The company I’m working with uses nix flakes as a sort of whole-system virtualenv to roll out their dev shell, and one colleague has even ditched their distro for Nix, but I’m scared.

  17. This is happening because users have been sold a lie.

    “I understand that Snap is meant to release us from dependency hell”

    Nope. It’s Apt that was meant to release “us” the users from dependency hell and it does the job well. Containers were never meant to benefit the end user. Snap and other containers are meant to release the few who are package maintainers from dependency hell and also maybe also those who work in large enterprises and have to keep dozens or more of critical servers version synchronized. For most values of “us” it’s not for us.

    Containers do this at the cost of ridiculous bloat that is then felt by the individual end user. And we are sold the idea it is to make things easier on us that haven’t been difficult since at least a decade before the first container was a gleam in it’s author’s eye.

    Do yourself a favor. Just say no to apps that only release in containers and distros that heavily depend on them.

  18. Mint is a bit boring which has made me dabble with some other distros, but mint remains my primary distro because it has always just worked, which allows me to get things done. Maybe Jenny didn’t want to go through the work, although seems capable, just get rid snaps. They’re not mandatory.

    1. Honestly I use Mint because it just works and I’ve got better things to do than fiddle/battle with my OS.

      Been dailying it across multiple machines for probably 10+ years now and aside from some early faff with dual nvidia graphics cards + 3-4 monitors many many years ago it’s been rock solid.

  19. Hard core Linux user here.

    I have been using Linux for the last 13 years with arch for the last 6-7 years.

    I recently moved to windows and i am having the best time of my life;)

    WSL is the best thing that happened to me, no more unstable software for chat/browsing/audio/others while still being able to use everything I have or have been using on arch for the past years and that even with an UI.

    Visual studio with remotes plugin makes it so easy to work with WSL and ssh servers. Life is beautiful now.

    I am using fancy WM for window management in windows and everything is going well so far.

    No problems to report.

    1. If you moved to windows you are not a “hardcore” Linux user. You are a fairweather user at best.

      I left windows 16 years ago due to telemetry, bloat, having to figure out where the settings are in the for some reason 5 different settings menus (exaggerated but true). Linux makes sense. Cli is incredibly useful. Shell and python make things super easy to schedule and automate along with cron.

      I have multiple distros, debian, Manjaro, Arch, opensuse, depending on the computer.

      Seriously, there is nothing I miss about widows. Games are the only reason I can see people wanting to stay, but steam os is fast eroding that advantage.

        1. There ARE some near-irreplaceable industry-standard suites like the flagship products from Adobe, AutoDesk, Avid… (they all start with ‘A’. Huh)… but cheaper or open-source equivalents exist in most categories, especially if you’re not locked-in because of business or interoperability concerns. For things like Office, people buy them more out of arm-twisting, habit or fear, than because they have indispensible features not available in other office suites.

  20. Spiral Linux is your friend.

    Think of this:
    Debian Stable, with all the glitter and polish of Ubuntu.

    Remember that feeling of when Ubuntu first came out in the mid-2000s? That’s what Spiral Linux has done.

    You’re welcome.

    (P.S. Can’t wait for the Bookworm release!)

    1. Which edition are you using ? (or recommending)
      I personally like at windows that there is simply one edition (and i have changed a lot between linux desktops and now i can’t use one of them “perfectly”…

  21. Have used Ubuntu on desktop since the very first release of Warty Warthog in 2006. Now considering trying GhostBSD, which sort of reminds me of Ubuntu as a project when it first started.

  22. Of course the question would be “what instead?” I am a long term Fedora user and have complaints here and there, but I can avoid Gnome by running Xfce and that makes me happy. I have asked people about Ubuntu and generally get the answer “no better, only different”, but that was many years ago. If I would switch to anything else it would be vanilla Debian perhaps, but I am lazy and nothing is pushing me hard enough to switch distros at this time.

    Containerize everything? Did they really do that? It seems hard to imagine, but as I read I find that indeed they did, but also that they are planning to ditch that soon.

    I just wish I could run KiCAD on linux. I can run it, but it is so slow as to be useless — so having a second machine that runs Windows does have its uses. So I have a Windows machine to run Adobe photoshop along with KiCAD.

    1. ” I have asked people about Ubuntu and generally get the answer “no better, only different”, but that was many years ago. ”

      One difference is Ubuntu (and all the DE flavors) support an LTS version which I like. I support a server, two desktops, and currently two laptops at home and prefer not ‘upgrade’ them every 6 months. The Mint distro gives you the same option. As I said above though, I have ran into so little problems with (L)Ubuntu and (K)Ubuntu that I have no reason to move off of them. All my systems are Ryzen based (even laptops) with minimum of 16GB of RAM on all. All run SSDs (No HDDs). So I find Ubuntu as snappy as ever … even the snap Firefox.

    2. If KiCAD is slow on your Linux – then something is wrong with your configuration. I’ve been using it since KiCAD 4 (currently using 6) on several Ubuntu versions and never had any even slightly noticeable performance issues (at least for 4 layers, 300 components boards – maybe it will happen on something much more complex?)

  23. Jenny,
    If I’m not putting you on the spot, do you have any recommendations? Since I have retired, I haven’t been under pressure to maintain upgrades, and I also have other pursuits, but after 10 years I’m looking to upgrade both hardware and OS. I’ve been a FreeBSD, Ubuntu, and Win 7 casual user, using the system for word processing, image processing, CAD, and amateur radio applications. Using FreeBSD required me to play administrator too much, and I refuse to “advance” any further with Win as it’s becoming a sticky mess, although I’ll hang onto Win7 for stuff that i can’t run on ‘nix platforms. I’ve always liked the stability of FreeBSD and am willing to go back to it, but I’d like to see what’s available in Linux that’s easy to use and maintain. I shouldn’t have to be a master mechanic to drive my car to the grocery store. A quick look inclines me toward mint, but I’d like to see what others think also, rather than having to re-blaze a new trail.

      1. Before you absolutely settle on something, I would suggest you give Rocky Linux–a “bug-for-bug-compatible” version of RHEL–long, hard, and very serious consideration. Rocky Linux, the non-desktop Linux desktop distribution—produced by the very same group which gave us CentOS (Rocky McGaugh–was one of the co-founders of CentOS, along with Gregory Kurtzer). Version 8.2 is supported through 2029.

        I would also suggest the same type effort regarding Manjaro, vis-a-vis the reason for the very damaging and–it appears– crippling turmoil and upheaval the choice of that organization’s offering(s) have caused within the Pine64 group. You might start here:

        Good luck.

  24. Yes, similar feels, esp. making Firefox into a snap (I undid that, but what a terrible idea, of all the packages you really want to run as fast as possible…) I have been gravitating towards Pop_OS! which is still mostly Ubuntu under the hood, but with Snap reduced to an option, not a requirement (and Flatpak also on hand), if only it wasn’t such a headache to set it up to dual-boot with that other OS from Redmond…

    1. I don’t understand this. snap Firefox on my laptops and desktops runs quickly. Web pages snap right up as usual, videos play just fine, etc. Ie. From this users stand point I don’t see a ‘slow down’ . I am not ‘justifying’ snap packages as I too think they aren’t needed… But I just don’t see a performance problem whether on one of my laptops, or sitting at one of my desktops.

  25. Amen to that.

    Snaps drive me crazy. Ubuntu get’s more bloated every year. I have been a linux user since Slackware came on 20+ floppies. Suse, Redhat, Mandrake, fedora, Gentoo, Debian, FreeBSD for a short while somewhere along the way, eventually I ended up with (K)ubuntu and was very happy for years but recently, not so much.

    I just haven’t figured out yet where to move from Ubuntu. I tried a few alternatives but so far I didn’t find a distro that convinced me but Ubuntu is not it anymore either.

  26. It seems there’s been some push towards new and different with the vanilla Ubuntu offerings. I’ve switched to Xubuntu and Lubuntu mostly to avoid the newer interface designs that have come since the Gnome days.

    Now for Snap and Flatpak, they are an imperfect solution to the dependency problem. I use them only when an application is not available in the repository. My reason is, I don’t want snap or flatpak to install the entire graphics dependencies for a game, this can increase the size 2-10 times. Appimages however work great since I can install them on an external drive and they have dependencies packed up with everything in one file.

    It is ideal to use repository sources for installation, and this can break down with lots of updating. This is why I avoid updates unless I can confirm they won’t negatively impact my computer workflow.

  27. Haven’t seen a single good reason in this poorly motivated complaint. There is no need to use snap, Chrome is not running a VM but a container. Ubuntu is the distro with most supported enterprise applications, like displaylink, Nvidia drivers and what not. Strange that I experience none of the issues you describe, using it about 15 years. Yeah, you should buy a decent machine and be happy and pick a good flavor. I think Gnome is not too bad, but a bit flawed, but personally do like Unity because of the global menu. If you want speed, use a light display manager and desktop. Perhaps that antique machine is the reason for freezes? Or crap drivers or BIOS happens with my new Asus X13 sometimes. I recommend buying a fully Linux supported machine, not Dell with their garbage BIOSes, Lenovo ( Linux supported ones ) , Framework or System76. Make sure S3 sleep is supported. A good 9th or 10th gen used intel or a newer AMD. Good luck;)

    1. I agree. Only time I’ve seen my machine freeze was related to hardware/driver. For example, a Nvidia driver problem. Also, I did have some bad memory one time too. Other than that, Ubuntu has been like a rock (so was fedora, Mint for that matter). On old Redhat/Fedora Core a kernel update now and then would break the system. Those were the days. That said, I only power down machines when I wanted them to go down. The Ubuntu data server under the desk, just hums along. I only power it down when I go on vacation.

      Bottom line. (K)Ubuntu has been very stable for me across all my AMD Ryzen powered machines.

    2. This article seemed bizarre to me. I daily drive Ubuntu and have nothing but good things to say about it. Yes, I think Snaps are a bit obtuse, but Flatpak, Apt, and AppImages are all still there and I use those almost exclusively. I can only suspect the author is trying to run the OS on antiquated hardware and its leading to a bad experience, but even then I find Ubuntu runs great on my aging Thinkpad X250.

    3. Give me a break, the Dell Inspiron 640 was last my main driver , let’s see, about 2018. I now run something a lot more recent, and Ubuntu has still become a dog.

      1. That is one thing great about the Linux world, if you are/or get dis-satisfied with a DE, there is another one to try. Same with distributions :) . Good luck with finding a distribution and DE that suits your work flow. Maybe Gnome is causing the slowdowns? I am currently using KDE which ‘colors’ my good experience with the distro. I just never could get used to the Gnome work flow so LXDE, Cinnamon, and now KDE have been been my goto DEs over time.

        1. “Yeah, you should buy a decent machine…”
          “Perhaps that antique machine is the reason for freezes…”
          “I recommend buying a fully Linux supported machine…”
          “I agree. Only time I’ve seen my machine freeze…”
          “I can only suspect the author is trying to run the OS on antiquated hardware and its leading to a bad experience…”

          Ms List, you’ve been doing this long enough to know that the fanboy (no sexism intended) contingent always takes as a personal affront anything said in less-than-glowing terms about their favorite whatsis. If that whatsis is an OS, the screams and objections usually revolve around one’s hardware, or one’s stupidity. Or both. The fault never lies at their doorstep. Absolutely never.
          This subject has been eloquently ascribed to a serious lack of reading comprehension, and has been covered in an absolutely sterling fashion by the following two articles.
          I would recommend these articles to all the fanboys out there but for the fact that there exists an obvious, pathological barrier to comprehension–which, if a reading of most all ‘comments’ sections of venues similar to this is any indication, is only getting worse.

          Reading comprehension is a big problem in open-source
          Updated: February 24, 2016

          More reading comprehension issues in Linux
          Updated: August 15, 2016

          1. From the comment above:

            1) “…If that whatsis is an OS, the screams and objections usually revolve around one’s hardware, or one’s stupidity. Or both…” should read

            “…If that whatsis is an OS, the screams and objections usually revolve around one’s hardware, or one’s stupidity, or one’s ancestry. Or all three, at a very minimum…”
            There. Fixed that.

            2) The second reference mentioned above immediately links to an article; that link is broken. If you’d like to read the article, use this:


            “We notice things that don’t work.‭ ‬We don’t notice things that do.‭ ‬We notice computers,‭ ‬we don’t notice pennies.‭ ‬We notice e-book readers,‭ ‬we don’t notice books.‭”


            “We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works…”

            …both from Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

  28. Dear Jenny,
    Like you, I’ve had a deep attachment to Ubuntu. It’s not a prefect relationship, but I’m willing to forgive some faults in a partner, and I work to help that significant OS overcome some of its flaws, though it won’t often admit to them. In particular, its reliance on doing things for itself, first through flatpak and then Snap has forced me to help it to reform (on my PC’s).

    1. Snap apps are often outdated — e.g., p7zip was at version 16, last I looked, but 7-Zip v. 22.01 runs better under wine than the old Snap version.

    2. Snap forces upload of the entire application with dependencies, rather than reusing packages, taking additional space. Though this hypothetically avoids conflicting libraries, wine does an excellent job running each app I’ve tried with the correct ones.

    3. Snap distribution is slow, at 1/10 speed of package download, and it clutters storage with duplicate files.

    4. Snap decides when to update, not the user. While apt update can be deferred, not Snap.

    However, I did convince my partner to forgo Snap, and to never reinstall it. All Snap apps have been removed, and reinstalled via apt from repositories, such as Mozilla’s. And we’ll stay together, since there is a Pro-nuptial agreement to be faithful for ten years. When I look at another OS, which continually monetizes it’s relationship with continual nags, and stating it’s outgrown our household without TPM, I appreciate my partner all the more.

  29. Over the years I went from Redhat to Ubuntu to Mint to pure Debian with my own customizations. I build my exemplar machine then clone its disk to a server so that I can copy it to all of the other systems in our large household. The trick is in knowing exactly what parts you need to change to give the new machine a unique identity, moving people’s home directories over to it is very simple if you are not hosting them via NFS anyway. Add your ssh keys and then most routine maintenance tasks are done over ssh from a bash script using a list of target machines, which can also run from cron, but I usually prefer to run updates myself so that I can keep one eye on the console for errors.

  30. I’ve been happily using Ubuntu for as long as I can remember, well over a decade, and I don’t have any good reason to switch to anything else.

    Then again, I use it on servers and none of the GUI-stuff is relevant to me, so I suppose I am side-stepping all the bad stuff entirely. *shrug*

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