Normies are destroying GNU/Linux
So, because this blog post marks blog post number 50, and because the first blog post is 1 year old today, I thought to celebrate I'd do a rewrite of my first blog post, which still holds true, actually more so than when I intially wrote it. Granted, the original blog post is terrible, it was fueled out of frustration and nothing more so let's give the topic the chance it deserves.
As well all know, GNU/Linux is an operating system and it has always been the outcast, it has always been less popular than other operating systems like Windows and macOS. Out of the outcast operating systems like BSD, Haiku and more however, it's pretty popular and it's growing in popularity. While this may seem like a good thing at first, when you actually dig deeper into what that means for GNU/Linux, you'll find many problems and I want to talk about those today.
So let's go back into the early days. Linus Torvalds developed the Linux kernel, which was used in combination with the GNU project. This means we now have a completely free software operating system. Great, now we don't have to use spyware nonfree software that doesn't respect your freedom anymore and everything is good for the small userbase. Previously GNU/Linux followed the UNIX philosophy rather closely, which is what made it so great. Of course there were exceptions to this rule, such as X11 (and today Wayland), however most software was minimal, and closely followed the UNIX philosophy like it was a religion, as that was expected out of software.
As GNU/Linux got more mainstream and normies got their hands on it, this freedom, this minimalism, all this stuff that made GNU/Linux so great started to disappear. When normies found this free operating system, naturally being normies they didn't want to actually learn anything about minimalism and free software, and certainly didn't want to enjoy any of the perks of it. Instead of that, they initially whined and complained about how it was different from what they're used to. And we, members of the GNU/Linux community in response did everything in our power to make the "Year of the GNU/Linux desktop" happen. Except..
We didn't. In response to normies complaining, we as a community at large started developing garbage, bloated software that throws everything that makes GNU/Linux and UNIX in general so great in the trash. We're no longer using text streams, we're no longer writing quality software with quality code, instead we're focusing on developing libraries on top of libraries that just add bloat to a project and create huge basically packages of software in an effort to please normies who refuse to appreciate the beauty of UNIX-like operating systems and just wanted to stick to what they're familiar with.
Here's the thing, If you're this kind of person who doesn't want to learn GNU/Linux, you don't want to learn about UNIX-like operating systems and you don't want to spend any time out of your day learning this stuff then why even bother using a new operating system in the first place? At that point, you might as well stick with Windows or macOS. But alright, fine. We can still have our section of the GNU/Linux community where traditional UNIX/Minimalist views are still appreciated, right? Well, no because eventually programmers start writing software which of course depends on all this normie software which is absolutely awful and now it becomes almost impossible to have a functioning system on GNU/Linux without this garbage software.
I haven't given any examples yet, but in my first version of this blog post I referred to Snaps, AppImages and Flatpaks, and while those do still meet the criteria here (although not in the present), I want to give some more examples which might make more sense. First, systemd. systemd is a collection of tools for GNU/Linux, and although many people hate systemd because it is "an init system", it is really a suite of tools. Therefore calling it bloated is not justified. However what is justified is valid criticism towards it. systemd provides a tool named "logind". So many programs depend on this, it is pretty much impossible to have a modern GNU/Linux system without this program installed on your computer. Now, that should be taken with a grain of salt because there are many different implementations of this tool, and those of you that use Gentoo may be familiar with one implementation called elogind. Still, I think this is an excellent example of dependencies that are used so much you cannot escape them.
But there are so many programs like these that we can't really escape, and the cause of these programs existing is usually the same. Normies want "easy" software, so in response we write terrible software which a normie will think is easy because Windows is terrible. However the worst of it came around the time Linus Tech Tips and all these other well known technology "entertainment" channels started covering GNU/Linux and giving it attention. When that happened and Windows/Mac users gave this OS a proper chance, developers around here scrambled to write as much normieware as possible to please these new users in the hopes of converting them into GNU/Linux users. Of course this failed, and just resulted in more terrible software.
I call this the "gaming wave", because suddenly all these gamers (often with NVIDIA graphics cards) came over here, because that's what Linus Tech Tips' fanbase is and wanted to play games. Of course, this failed because despite the effort from the people who play games around here, most GNU/Linux users don't really play games. In fact I barely play games myself anymore. I have nothing against people who play games, but the people who play games on GNU/Linux certainly have some blame to take here.
Lastly, before I end off this blog post I want to mention a few things regarding Wayland. In short, I'm definitely against it and that's for a few reasons. Wayland brings a lot of good things to the table, such as a cleaner codebase, less screen tearing, perhaps HDR support in the future, and so on and all that is fine by me. No complains there. Where the problem starts to show however is from a developer perspective. Yes, the Wayland display protocol is more minimal than X11 (that's not really an achievement) but a lot of that is because the Wayland mess has been moved over to the compositor forcing any developers to write thousands of lines of just absolute junk. This is absolutely terrible, and until the developers of Wayland change direction (highly doubt they will), I'm sticking with X11 until it's no longer feasible to do so.
Either way, that's what I wanted to say, stop using all of this stupid software whenever possible, and become a based GNU/Linux minimalist. I plan on getting a page up on replacements for stupid software which will kind of act as a guide on how to get into GNU/Linux minimalism for those of you that fell for this stupid software. If you have any questions or thoughts, feel free to send me an email.. and have a good rest of your day.