Linux Desktop Pain Points

David Nielsen has written an interesting post describing what users he has spoken to dislike about Fedora. I tried to leave this entry as a comment on his blog but whilst his blog claimed to have sent me an email with a password it never arrived.

David’s post talks about Fedora’s pain points relative to say Ubuntu. As a user who has helped a number of other users inside a large organisation switch to a Fedora desktop, the pain points I normally encounter are ones relative to Windows (or OS X).

The problems I encounter are basically the following:

  • I have this piece of hardware and no linux drivers…: Often we can find drivers but it’s a pain e.g. compiling an out-of-tree module each time a kernel update happens. I guess this wll cure itself as
    linux gains more acceptance on the desktop
  • Networking is hard (i.e. you need to hand edit config files): (We use WPA2 at work and need to have a DNS search path). Roll on NetworkManager 0.7
  • Multiscreen/projector issues: Roll on XRandR 1.2
  • I want to use Samba/AFS/VPN and I’m not sure which ports to open or how: We could really do with a nice GUI for iptables driven by DBUS that says “Can program xy act as a server on ports…” a la Window’s ZoneAlarm (or CPIF or whatever it’s called this week).

I think the pain points for a home user would be somewhat different but this what I encounter in a large enterprise (that uses Notes/Sametime which have linux versions so I don’t meet “how do I interface with Exchange” etc.)