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Editorial - Linux Gaming's Ticking Clock

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Years ago, when we could still meet in the hundreds in small enclosed spaces, I was speaking to a Valve employee and brought up the topic of integrating Wine into Steam. I was met with something that I assume is taught to all of their employees during orientation - a sly, precise and knowing smile. When performed correctly it's a smile that offers up no information other than a confidence that there are good things to come. Back then Proton was very clearly something to be held close to the chest, not to be shouted about, at least not for a while.

Now, Proton is all anyone wants to talk about when Linux gaming is brought up. It comes with an argument just waiting to spring out at you - are you for or against? Are you perilously blind to the devastation caused by opening pandora's box, or are you a stifling traditionalist unwilling to let the platform evolve towards a bright future? I don't think either of those is a hill worth dying on, but I've heard these exchanges enough now that I can tell they're coming by the hairs on the back of my neck. It's not that these aren't important debates to have, it's just that the angles people take are so often unable to give the pragmatist room to breathe, let alone space to get down and dirty with the real issues at hand and how to solve them.

I think I now understand why the Proton cards were kept so hidden, sometimes it's not worth inciting an angry debate without letting something speak for itself first.

Today there's an undeniable truth that in a short window of time we've gained a wealth of games to play on Linux, but instead of the current dialogue focusing on finding common actions - how to capitalize on that potential, how to generate growth or even how to prevent too much damage being done, it too often ends up distracted in arguments that only focus on the past. These are fruitless. There's nothing to be gained but the ego boost of a hollow personal victory. "Is Proton good or bad for Linux gaming?" is a tired old question, that was thrown around in slightly different forms long before Proton even existed. There's a far more interesting topic: "Proton is here, so what next?". Finding answers to this, collectively, should be our urgent priority, because there's one thing seldom brought up in all these discussions: Proton's current success is the child of impeccable timing, and it may not last.

There are many factors to this, the first being the currently extended console generation. In 2019 almost all Windows games were still rendering with DirectX 11, a technology released 10 years prior. DirectX 12 was launched five years ago but we're only now seeing games start to truly use it. Part of Proton's success is founded on the fact that Vulkan is a generational leap above the tech current games are built on. It's not even simply DirectX 12, which is a mostly solved problem on Linux, the incoming generation is going to leapfrog that directly into entirely new technologies like Ray Tracing, DLSS and Nanite. You can see hints at the impact of the generational jump that's about to happen in NVIDIAs recent DLSS video, Epic's Unreal Engine 5 Reveal or the jaw-dropping Marbles RTX demo (shown below).

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These new technologies may well have great compatibility with Vulkan and Proton, but not if Vulkan can't keep up - it may be that games start requiring them sooner as a baseline, and there could be significant unavoidable performance hits in a translation layer just like in the old days of DirectX to OpenGL. Because of this, Vulkan adoption and wide-spread use are vital to keeping Linux capable of cutting edge graphics tech. Supporting the use of Vulkan not only massively helps Proton, but it also helps Khronos stay at the cutting edge, making future native ports a much simpler prospect.

The potential success of Stadia could be a key factor in this - the more Google looks to push the boundaries of graphics hardware, the stronger Vulkan will need to be when put up against DirectX. Desktop usage of Vulkan is growing, with Vulkan renderers being added to games like Red Dead Redemption 2 and Rainbow Six Siege while Android use is on the rise as well, the success of both of these will be another factor in keeping Vulkan at the forefront. There was some doubt only a few years ago about whether Vulkan would end up as another OpenGL, an unwieldy, rarely-used-on-desktop API with dodgy driver support and lacking widespread expert knowledge, but I'm hearing those doubts less often these days. One situation that might play into all this is if Microsoft brought DirectX to Linux which, while farfetched, doesn't seem so insane anymore as it's coming to WSL, though the implications of a move like that are beyond anyone's fortune-telling abilities.

Another view on Proton's impeccable timing would be that Steam's strong market share on Windows for the last decade is only now hitting some serious competition. The Epic Games Store is the big challenger in the public eye, and while there's more to be done there (Epic integrating Proton would be special) the fact running it on Linux is a mostly solved problem, for now, has taken it out of focus a little. - we shouldn't get complacent. The second challenger that may be a far greater threat is the dirt-cheap and expansive Xbox Game Pass, which encourages a lack of game ownership that completely breaks the option of gamers taking their games with them when moving Linux (short of buying an Xbox). It also has the potential to finally transition more games to UWP, a format incompatible with Wine, and we recently heard that Microsoft is working on unifying their executable formats into something new, potentially causing even more problems.

For one flavour of pragmatist Stadia and other streaming services offer up a tangible step towards mitigating those issues by making your OS of choice irrelevant to the games you play. These services will give many Linux users direct access to the best AAA titles on their launch, and in Stadia's case, they're delivered using Linux virtually end-to-end. Xbox Game Streaming and Playstation Now may also unlock a huge library of console games without the need to invest in the set-top box. Streaming might not be your cup of tea or could be inaccessible due to your location, but it can't be ignored as part of the wider picture - a strong way to play games on PC without the need for a specific OS has clear benefits for Linux users.

Another simple counter is that it's becoming more and more obvious that Proton has far better historical compatibility with games than Windows does, and particularly better than Mac. This situation is likely to continue to improve, and it's a massive stealthy benefit for many gamers. Game preservation is a worthy shared goal to get behind, and we could look to establish Linux as the platform of choice for nostalgia seekers, tinkerers and modders for the digital age, in the same vein to that cabinet with a well preserved Nintendo 64 and a bunch of old games that some of us keep.

One last piece of the Proton timing puzzle is Anti-Cheat. We're nearing the end of a relatively long grace period where game developers shy away from going too invasive with protecting their IP. Most DRM and anti-tamper solutions are solvable in Wine, but Windows kernel-level anti-cheat has been around for years and is a much tougher challenge, bringing to a halt the hope of a quite a few games working on Linux. This level of invasive security isn't just a problem for Wine, it should be seen as a dangerous obstacle for all gamers, but it's a difficulty that's unlikely to go away in the short term as we see more AAA developers begin to rely on it, even though other methods have proven viable and are used in world-class esports. The problem is that invasive anti-cheat is now seeping outside of competitive multiplayer games - the latest victim is Doom Eternal, a game whose single-player campaign while writing this article became inaccessible on Proton due to the addition of Denuvo's new Anti Cheat.

However, it isn't all doom and gloom - broader campaigns against invasive anti-cheat are making small steps, Microsoft is granting users the ability to disable anti-cheat for single-player in the MCC, and most recently Denuvo Anti-Cheat is being removed again from Doom Eternal. In other good news, Valve is working with the developers of Easy Anti-Cheat, and Denuvo is working on out-of-the-box Proton support, but standing united with Windows gamers in setting a safer precedent for how companies handle these tools, regardless of Proton compatibility, is something we all should aim to do.

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Proton's timing was its strength, but native ports are another story. It's probably fair to say that the number of ports has reduced over the last year, and you can't blame developers for taking the easy route when they find their game works flawlessly under Proton. However, the story in terms of native development is more positive. In the open-source world, Godot has a significant fresh round of funding with its 2020 showreel showing a notable upward trend in quality and quantity, while Blender made a huge leap with 2.80 last year. For the big-name engines, both Unity and Unreal's support for native game development is improving at a solid pace. Combining these with great progress in the Linux Distribution world for ease of use, installation and compatibility, as well as the multiple manufacturers now providing more high-quality OEM Linux laptops means that native development has never been easier, and keeping it strong helps to counter any damage Proton may do.

It would be easy to have been pessimistic here, but I hope I've shown there's a fair amount optimism just waiting to be had once everything is weighed up. Proton may have come with a strong tailwind, but there are a plethora of other factors at play to help keep Linux gaming fresh. If there's one action to be taken here it's not to stick all of our eggs in one basket - we have to stop acting like Proton is the only choice on the table, that's a massive distraction pulling us away from coming together and solving this puzzle collectively and co-operatively. If we do that right, then next time someone brings up Proton and Linux gaming we can offer them up that same knowing smile, knowing that the future should speak for itself.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Editorial
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I’m a programmer and avid gamer. I currently develop and game on Pop_OS, plus run Mint, Fedora and Raspbian at home. I work at Unity as a Linux specialist in the Sustained Engineering team, while also contracting for Valve. Formerly developer and Linux Group Lead at Feral. Any opinions and thoughts I write are mine personally and do not represent those of my employers.
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Purple Library Guy
LinuxwarperYou speak of Proton as if it's complete when reality is it's not. It still lacks support for anticheat, and VK3D is still not mature. How can Proton make a significant impact when it's still lacking? I am certain a completed Proton will drive adoption.
I'm afraid you missed my whole point. Proton, whether incomplete or complete, is a thing which reduces barriers to adoption. It cannot in itself drive adoption. With Proton, you can potentially say "If I switch to Linux, I can still have my Windows games." But people who stay with Windows can already have their Windows games--that's not a reason to switch.
If barriers are high, there can be drivers of adoption and people still won't switch--they'll say "I'd like to switch, but I wouldn't be able to play my Windows games." So something like Proton is important in its own way. But it is not in itself a driver of adoption, just an enabler if such drivers exist.

For people to switch, there need to be both few and low barriers to switching, and positive drivers, actual reasons why you get something out of switching. My point was that Linux people have tended to work very hard to reduce barriers, but have not put as much effort into creating actual incentives--and Proton is in the former category, not the latter.

Couldn't agree more.

The problem is, all the traditional means of driving adoption that spring to mind are more or less the anti-thesis of everything 'free and open source software' stands for and probably beyond the scope of what we could achieve anyway. It's not like the Linux community is going to suddenly start pumping out 2 or 3 AAA Linux exclusive games a year, or sign third party exclusivity contracts with publishers, or do weekly game giveaways.

Linux as a platform for gaming, can of course add convenient features to make life easier, but then we quickly enter a 'everything you can do, I can do better!' song and dance with the other platforms, where they adopt any new features we come up with shortly after we create them. Same has happened with Windows for years, every time Linux desktops gain a new feature, eventually it comes to Windows (eg: multiple virtual desktops).

I've spent some time thinking about if and if I had to come up with a list of 'Reasons to Game on Linux', this would be it:

  • Linux is free and open source, this isn't just an ideological benefit, this is also a practical benefit. Keeping track of Windows licenses or paying for them is one less thing to worry about on Linux. If you ever need a copy of a Linux distro you can just jump on the distro website and download it. Super convenient.

  • Better graphics stack. I can't explain it nor do I understand it, but in my opinion, rendering graphics on Linux is faster. For example, you can see as much as 30% faster rendering with Blender. I have no idea why this is, but it's definitely something I've observed. Of course this doesn't translate to faster graphics in every situation, such as lazy ports or running Windows games on Linux. But even then, sometimes Windows games have run faster on Linux in certain circumstances, which is a testament to just how much faster Linux generally is than Windows for graphics rendering.

  • Superior update UX. Not only on Windows do you have to deal with the annoyance of the now infamous forced updates, but the UX of updates on Windows is quite bizarre. Windows communicates very poorly when it's checking for updates, what updates it's performing and what even is being updated. Not only that but usually software is updated separately to the OS. On Windows, it's very common for software to have it's own 'updater' service that runs in the background, consuming memory and CPU cycles just to constantly check for updates. Contrast that to Linux, there's usually very well made update utilities that allow you to update when you feel like, tell you what's being updated, and update both your OS and your software at the same time. Linux in my opinion has a cleaner UX here.

  • Another Windows annoyance to avoid, the incoherent mess of UIs for Settings/Control Panel in Windows 10, especially for things like changing filetype associations. It's one of the few areas where I can say with confidence Linux is definitely offering a better UX, almost all the popular Linux distros have a better UX here. OS settings on Linux are usually offered via a single global settings UI, and actually easier to follow than what you usually get on Windows. I don't know how Microsoft has screwed this up so much but they definitely dropped the ball here, but their loss is our gain.

  • Generally speaking there's no need to install drivers on Linux any more as long as your hardware is supported. It's still common on Windows to need to install manually drivers for things like printers and wifi cards and monitors, etc, it's common for these things to come with instructions telling you to go to a website and download & install some annoying little application that will live in your system tray forever. It's usually one of the first things you need to do with a new Windows installation, and at the very least you need to go grab the GPU driver. These days most Linux distros are actually coming with GPU drivers out of the box or install them at the same time as OS.


Those are things which come to mind when I try to think of reasons to use Linux instead of Windows.
jens
Purple Library Guy
LinuxwarperYou speak of Proton as if it's complete when reality is it's not. It still lacks support for anticheat, and VK3D is still not mature. How can Proton make a significant impact when it's still lacking? I am certain a completed Proton will drive adoption.
I'm afraid you missed my whole point. Proton, whether incomplete or complete, is a thing which reduces barriers to adoption. It cannot in itself drive adoption. With Proton, you can potentially say "If I switch to Linux, I can still have my Windows games." But people who stay with Windows can already have their Windows games--that's not a reason to switch.
If barriers are high, there can be drivers of adoption and people still won't switch--they'll say "I'd like to switch, but I wouldn't be able to play my Windows games." So something like Proton is important in its own way. But it is not in itself a driver of adoption, just an enabler if such drivers exist.

For people to switch, there need to be both few and low barriers to switching, and positive drivers, actual reasons why you get something out of switching. My point was that Linux people have tended to work very hard to reduce barriers, but have not put as much effort into creating actual incentives--and Proton is in the former category, not the latter.

Very good points, thanks.
I wonder what actual drivers are there to move to Linux. The one I could think of, except from non-functionals like being free/open or less intrusive, is that Linux offers a much better developer experience. Even in development areas where Windows is rather strong, e.g. Web development, I'm gradually seeing people move to Linux since things like Docker or Nodejs do work much better on Linux (I guess that is also the reason why there is so much investment into WSL from Microsoft). Are there more strong functional drivers?
I dunno about strong. There are a couple minor ones I can think of.
--The OS is not made of nagware/coercionware. That is, it will not go around interrupting what you are doing to insist that you do updates or whatever.
--In some distros, fairly unified software management. All the open source stuff in your distribution's repositories is easy to find and install from a single GUI application, and it updates along with the OS, no muss, no fuss. The software manager is like Steam for your other software, if less glitzy.
--This may be counterintuitive, but I think a case could be made for superior UI. We've always had an inferiority complex about Linux UI; traditionally the Linux desktops were considered behind Windows and especially Mac, rough and lacking polish. But no matter which desktop environment you prefer, these days most of those rough edges have been knocked off, while new features and approaches have been added. If you want power and customizability, KDE makes Windows look like it's stuck at 3.1. If you want innovative and clean, Gnome is far cooler than Windows. I hear a couple of the others, like Budgie and what, are very nice too. If you want something like Windows but better, I personally think Mate totally fills that--I go back and forth every day (well, I did until I started working from home) and I find that for instance the Windows file manager feels clunky compared to the Mate one and probably most other Linux file managers. Like, I don't see a way to make the Windows file manager have more than one pane so you can easily move things back and forth, and it's not tabbed. And as far as I know you can only have one taskbar, and you can't move it--Windows is weak.

I can imagine a situation in the future when various existing projects become effective and reliable and easy to use, where Linux became "The OS where you can use all your old stuff--old games, old software generally, old games from previous generations of consoles and things, old Office files, whatever". It can already do a fair amount of that, but the ways are kind of scattered and some of them are hard to use.
musojon74But it does affect sales. Then we vocally shout about this. Then we shout at people for bad poets.
I know this is a typo, but we should totally shout about bad poets more. :D
mirv 24 May
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Philadelphus
musojon74But it does affect sales. Then we vocally shout about this. Then we shout at people for bad poets.
I know this is a typo, but we should totally shout about bad poets more. :D

Those damned Vogons!
jens 24 May
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Purple Library Guy
jens
Purple Library Guy
LinuxwarperYou speak of Proton as if it's complete when reality is it's not. It still lacks support for anticheat, and VK3D is still not mature. How can Proton make a significant impact when it's still lacking? I am certain a completed Proton will drive adoption.
I'm afraid you missed my whole point. Proton, whether incomplete or complete, is a thing which reduces barriers to adoption. It cannot in itself drive adoption. With Proton, you can potentially say "If I switch to Linux, I can still have my Windows games." But people who stay with Windows can already have their Windows games--that's not a reason to switch.
If barriers are high, there can be drivers of adoption and people still won't switch--they'll say "I'd like to switch, but I wouldn't be able to play my Windows games." So something like Proton is important in its own way. But it is not in itself a driver of adoption, just an enabler if such drivers exist.

For people to switch, there need to be both few and low barriers to switching, and positive drivers, actual reasons why you get something out of switching. My point was that Linux people have tended to work very hard to reduce barriers, but have not put as much effort into creating actual incentives--and Proton is in the former category, not the latter.

Very good points, thanks.
I wonder what actual drivers are there to move to Linux. The one I could think of, except from non-functionals like being free/open or less intrusive, is that Linux offers a much better developer experience. Even in development areas where Windows is rather strong, e.g. Web development, I'm gradually seeing people move to Linux since things like Docker or Nodejs do work much better on Linux (I guess that is also the reason why there is so much investment into WSL from Microsoft). Are there more strong functional drivers?
I dunno about strong. There are a couple minor ones I can think of.
--The OS is not made of nagware/coercionware. That is, it will not go around interrupting what you are doing to insist that you do updates or whatever.
--In some distros, fairly unified software management. All the open source stuff in your distribution's repositories is easy to find and install from a single GUI application, and it updates along with the OS, no muss, no fuss. The software manager is like Steam for your other software, if less glitzy.
--This may be counterintuitive, but I think a case could be made for superior UI. We've always had an inferiority complex about Linux UI; traditionally the Linux desktops were considered behind Windows and especially Mac, rough and lacking polish. But no matter which desktop environment you prefer, these days most of those rough edges have been knocked off, while new features and approaches have been added. If you want power and customizability, KDE makes Windows look like it's stuck at 3.1. If you want innovative and clean, Gnome is far cooler than Windows. I hear a couple of the others, like Budgie and what, are very nice too. If you want something like Windows but better, I personally think Mate totally fills that--I go back and forth every day (well, I did until I started working from home) and I find that for instance the Windows file manager feels clunky compared to the Mate one and probably most other Linux file managers. Like, I don't see a way to make the Windows file manager have more than one pane so you can easily move things back and forth, and it's not tabbed. And as far as I know you can only have one taskbar, and you can't move it--Windows is weak.

I can imagine a situation in the future when various existing projects become effective and reliable and easy to use, where Linux became "The OS where you can use all your old stuff--old games, old software generally, old games from previous generations of consoles and things, old Office files, whatever". It can already do a fair amount of that, but the ways are kind of scattered and some of them are hard to use.

I think the first two point are surely valid, though I guess users already need some understanding of the underlying operation system to get this.
About UI, yeah I agree that this could be indeed something to catch "normal" users. I love my Gnome Desktop on my Fedora box, though changing the GTK/Shell/Icon theme from the default Adwaita theme to something much more stylish (Plata-Noir) is one of the first things I do. Of course taste differs ;).
Hopefully Linux will improve more with default settings and default appearance so that UI will be a strong selling point.


Last edited by jens on 24 May 2020 at 3:36 pm UTC
Linuxwarper 24 May
Purple Library GuyI'm afraid you missed my whole point. Proton, whether incomplete or complete, is a thing which reduces barriers to adoption. It cannot in itself drive adoption. With Proton, you can potentially say "If I switch to Linux, I can still have my Windows games." But people who stay with Windows can already have their Windows games--that's not a reason to switch.
If barriers are high, there can be drivers of adoption and people still won't switch--they'll say "I'd like to switch, but I wouldn't be able to play my Windows games." So something like Proton is important in its own way. But it is not in itself a driver of adoption, just an enabler if such drivers exist.

For people to switch, there need to be both few and low barriers to switching, and positive drivers, actual reasons why you get something out of switching. My point was that Linux people have tended to work very hard to reduce barriers, but have not put as much effort into creating actual incentives--and Proton is in the former category, not the latter.
That's difficult. People care so little about FOSS principles that DRM and microtransactions are rampant. They praise Microsoft, with the history being forgotten. The history of Microsoft force upgrading users or use D3D as leverage. Customizable and free, is Linux's strength.
musojon74 24 May
Philadelphus
musojon74But it does affect sales. Then we vocally shout about this. Then we shout at people for bad poets.
I know this is a typo, but we should totally shout about bad poets more. :D

Haha! Totally missed that. I’m not editing it now, it’s too funny. Definitely up for some bad poet shouting.
Linuxwarper 24 May
To elaborate on reasons to use Linux: privacy, secure, no nagging, better utilities and convenient. The fact you don't have to go through any hoops to reinstall a Linux distro, it's so easy and convenient. And once you've installed it you don't have to worry much if any about invasive features like with Windows. It respects your choices as opposed to Windows where Microsoft could reinstall apps or add new one to your OS if they like. PC modding is also at heart of Linux.
RCL 25 May
The whole conundrum is because you're trying to use a free, infinitely modifiable software environment (known collectively as Linux for its kernel, because the kernel and maybe C library is the only permanent component of the mix) for distributing closed source, binary only, compiled once and never updated, games.

Of course that's not going to work well and it is not working well. FOSS system needs FOSS games that are developed according to its rules and can be patched as the system evolves. Alternatively, FOSS system needs an "emulator" for a more stable environment, which can be adapted so users can play the same "frozen" images of console or Windows games while the underlying system changes under them.

Asking for more native closed-source, binary only, "frozen" Linux games is asking for trouble. Why? They will quickly bit rot in the ever-evolving Linux environment. If you have a closed source game that was released in 2010 for Windows and can be played via Proton now in 2020, chances are, you'll be able to play it in 2030. Can we say that about native Linux games released in say 2012 with the Humble Bundle? FWIW Valve recognizes that and started working on its own containerization system ("pressure-vessel"). Which, if it works, is going to be a solution for Steam-distributed games only, not for any random native Linux game...

EDIT: this is not to say that Windows doesn't change. But Microsoft is taking great care to not disrupt the games with its changes, recognizing the value of its ecosystem. Linux, in contrast, is developed mostly not for the games, and the major distro vendors often don't care enough about them (even Ubuntu, as recent attempt to remove 32-bit support showed). Moreover, it can be said that running closed-source binaries is an explicit non-goal for many distros, something that they tolerate on pragmatic grounds, but do not wish to endorse (understandably), because it undermines the FOSS principles and also security (you may have no concerns about running someone's closed source binary you just downloaded from the web, but for majority of non-gaming Linux users this is a big security risk).


Last edited by RCL on 25 May 2020 at 6:43 am UTC
appetrosyan 25 May
I would like to add that not all games are created equal. Some of them, like Alien: Isolation are installed, run and completed several times over. Right now Linux is a hard sell for en-mass installation because, as much-better-poets-than-me have remarked, we have no compelling reason to have people switch over and there are barriers. Proton and DXVK reduce the pressure to switch away from Linux but they don't create pressure to switch to it.

By design, there are very few programs that can be run on GNU Linux and only GNU Linux. That includes Games. A thing that would have driven mass adoption, could have been if a single-player Half Life 3 non-VR were released as a Linux exclusive. Valve are under no obligation to create a Windows build and a vote of confidence would have been to release, HL3 as a Linux exclusive. It won't happen, but mainly because the mass adoption of Linux and control over a platform that you can't lock-in, doesn't compensate for the lost sales that they would have had. It has nothing to do with Exclusives allegedly being incompatible with FOSS (they are the key part of CopyLeft, and by design the proper GPLv3 is exclusive to FOSS). In fact, we don't inspire much confidence to have them delay the launch of HL:Alyx until they have a working build for Linux.

Another reason to switch would have been privacy and security. Unfortunately, it almost never is a factor in people's minds. You can't make it one, because preaching doesn't work. You can convert a small number of people, but not more than that.

Viruses create a pressure to switch to Linux, but not as much as I hoped. People don't care about viruses. Some don't care enough to use a mitigation like Windows defender that they already have! Much less spend time and effort to get away from them. The only way this pressure gets stronger, is if Microsoft keeps on making blunders and creating security holes, that cause ransomware outbreaks. Otherwise, why bother?

The abundance of Professionally monopolistic software that doesn't and will not support GNU+Linux because of catch 22. That's a strong pressure and a dealbreaker for switching away from Linux to Windows. It's sometimes enough to make people switch away from Mac OS, which has way more things going for it than Linux.

Community fragmentation. No! I'm not referring to people writing weekend projects like an app to keep track of recipes. Nor am I referring to the overabundance of Desktop Environments. I'm referring to the fact that if you search for Linux.org, and ask to download, you'd be taken to a wall of text with no descriptions. If I'm totally honest, I'd just prune the list down to Ubuntu, Arch and parabola, clearly stating that Ubuntu's the gateway drug, Arch is the hard stuff, and Parabola is the hardcore fanatic dosage. Sadly, far too many distress are pushing their own agendas on Linux.org, to remove them from consideration. It wouldn't be fair, too. I personally like Gentoo.

Lack of standardisation. What is the de-factor standard VoIP communication protocol for Linux? Anyone? Mac OS - FaceTime, Windows - Skype. Everything that is standard came from Unix and no newer standards are better. Wayland is supposed to be one new standard, and its support is abysmal. Office Suite? Apple - Keynote, Pages and Cells, Windows - Word, PowerPoint and Excel. Linux? Well we have a zoo. Thankfully they all speak the same language. Unfortunately instead of speaking it like Americans, Australians and Brits, they speak it more like the Aztecs, the Russians and the Japanese...

The User experience and Desktop Bling are a good selling point. Just go to UnixPorn and you'll see many compelling reasons to switch to Linux. But... that's the UI, not the UX. The UX is: I created my coursework in FreeCad instead of AutoCad, and got an F, because my project Supervisor couldn't open it. It's that I'm at a command prompt and instead of using the familiar apt install, instead I have to use paceman -S. It's fine, it's easier to type, but I would install by default a wrapper script that dynamically resolved what you want to happen and told you what the command is. It has to be there by default!!! We lack these common interfaces that people need to rely on, if they want to eventually stop thinking and get doing. The flatpak is a major step in the right direction and the fact that RedHat is forcing it on everybody is actually a good thing. because then I have a reliable way of making things work cross platform. If only it were also, you know... GOOD.

The only real advantages, like technical superiority the security are sadly the things that are the toughest to sell. Until we fix this, Linux will always be at the mercy of Microsofts and the Googles. If we want to change adoption we need a Killer App. And unfortunately, every killer app spot is already taken...
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