Do Linux users suffer from lack of software?

MacBH928

macrumors 68040
Original poster
May 17, 2008
3,667
1,280
I know as a mac user sometimes I am let down to know some software is not available for MacOS, I was wondering if Linux users are in the same boat. I know the basics are covered like office suite and browser, but is there anything else you found not available on Linux?

I heard you can run Windows software via wine but not sure if this is a real solution or just half-baked one.
 

SandboxGeneral

Moderator emeritus
Sep 8, 2010
25,799
8,776
Detroit
Not really. Just looking at Arch Linux, which is my distro of choice, in the core (official) repository there are currently 10,948 packages available. While in the AUR (Arch User Repository) there are 60,145 packages to choose from. Then if you figure in the Debian/Ubuntu and RHEL/Fedora repo's, subtracting duplicate packages between them, you'll still have thousands of more things to pick from.

The nice thing about Linux is that if there isn't a package that does what you want, you can either build it yourself or due to the freedom of open-source software, you can take someone else's package and fork it into your own thing. That is, of course, if you know how to code. I am not much of a coder so I don't do that myself. But I've never had an issue where I wanted to do something and couldn't find an already made solution.

When I first switched from Windows to Mac, I learned how to do all the things I needed and wanted to do the Mac way. I had to find some new programs and learn how to use them, but that was no big deal. It was the same thing when I left Mac to go to Linux. I found new software and learned how to use it to accomplish the goals I had.

As for Wine, yes it is a wrapper of sorts to help run Windows programs on Linux. I tried it once or twice many years ago and it didn't perform as well as I'd hoped and it was somewhat difficult to implement, too. I didn't put much effort into making it work and instead took the better option for what I was doing and found the Linux way to do it.
 

556fmjoe

macrumors 68000
Apr 19, 2014
1,684
1,010
I've been solely using BSD and Linux (to a lesser extent) for about a decade and there's nothing I have needed to do that I couldn't do.
 
  • Like
Reactions: powerslave12r

Mikael H

macrumors 6502a
Sep 3, 2014
692
336
is there anything else you found not available on Linux?
If you’re looking for specific software you’ll find a whole bunch missing. If you’re open to learning a new way of achieving the same result, there’s a lot of coverage in the Linux world.

As for Wine, I find it good enough for my needs, which consist of running non-ported Windows games via the Lutris or Steam wrappers. I decidedly dislike running regular applications via Wine since it feels non-native to a disturbing degree.
 

MacBH928

macrumors 68040
Original poster
May 17, 2008
3,667
1,280
If you’re looking for specific software you’ll find a whole bunch missing. If you’re open to learning a new way of achieving the same result, there’s a lot of coverage in the Linux world.

As for Wine, I find it good enough for my needs, which consist of running non-ported Windows games via the Lutris or Steam wrappers. I decidedly dislike running regular applications via Wine since it feels non-native to a disturbing degree.
is there a solution for managing iOS devices or backing them up?
 

Mikael H

macrumors 6502a
Sep 3, 2014
692
336
is there a solution for managing iOS devices or backing them up?
I have to confess that I have very little knowledge in that area, having pretty much only used iCloud backups for my iDevices. When it comes to managing devices, do you mean in the business sense (e.g. MDM, device profiles, etc), or do you mean as in connecting them to iTunes?
 

MacBH928

macrumors 68040
Original poster
May 17, 2008
3,667
1,280
I have to confess that I have very little knowledge in that area, having pretty much only used iCloud backups for my iDevices. When it comes to managing devices, do you mean in the business sense (e.g. MDM, device profiles, etc), or do you mean as in connecting them to iTunes?
no I mean connecting them to iTunes, doing backups, sending files back and forth, syncing... I know iTunes does not exist for Linux
 

Mikael H

macrumors 6502a
Sep 3, 2014
692
336
no I mean connecting them to iTunes, doing backups, sending files back and forth, syncing... I know iTunes does not exist for Linux
Nope, that's one thing that I don't think has become easier over the years. There have been backwards-engineered solutions to this, working to a limited degree, but they've all been broken by later iOS updates, to my knowledge. It's iCloud or nothing, I think.
 

SandboxGeneral

Moderator emeritus
Sep 8, 2010
25,799
8,776
Detroit
Due to the way Apple locks down as much as they can for their software and devices, it is difficult to use anything with iDevices besides iTunes.

This article updated last month details how to mount an iPhone to an Arch Linux PC. After mounting it, you can then copy or transfer files between the phone and the PC.

https://itsfoss.com/iphone-antergos-linux/

But, it's nothing like using iTunes to do the same thing.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
65,612
31,729
Boston
but is there anything else you found not available on Linux?
Lightroom, and GotomyPC are two examples of why I can't switch. Yes, there's a lightroom competitor called dark table, but if I wanted to switch, I would have done so on windows. As much as I hate subscriptions, I'm seemingly pretty entrenched with LR.

Gotomypc is the biggest show stopper, its how I access my work computer and no other remote app is permitted through the firewall.

It may be unfair, but I feel much of the open source offerings are not up to par. Some start out great, and provide great features, but then the developer or teams get bored or move on and updates slow. There's exceptions to be sure, darktable is a good example of open source done right. I also find some open source apsps may not work well with your distro, or requiring tweaks, or not looking polished.

There seems to be a desire to avoid commercial applications on the linux platform, the culture of Linux expects software to be free and I think that can scare viable developers.

I've been out of the loop with Linux for a little while, and perhaps my perspective is stale, but the last time I installed pop!os, I was unable to get gotomypc working and that was a show stopper for me. I'd love to dual boot my laptop but until Citrix supports linux (they are the makers of gotomypc), I'm SOL
 
  • Like
Reactions: crjackson2134

MacBH928

macrumors 68040
Original poster
May 17, 2008
3,667
1,280
Lightroom, and GotomyPC are two examples of why I can't switch. Yes, there's a lightroom competitor called dark table, but if I wanted to switch, I would have done so on windows. As much as I hate subscriptions, I'm seemingly pretty entrenched with LR.

Gotomypc is the biggest show stopper, its how I access my work computer and no other remote app is permitted through the firewall.

It may be unfair, but I feel much of the open source offerings are not up to par. Some start out great, and provide great features, but then the developer or teams get bored or move on and updates slow. There's exceptions to be sure, darktable is a good example of open source done right. I also find some open source apsps may not work well with your distro, or requiring tweaks, or not looking polished.

There seems to be a desire to avoid commercial applications on the linux platform, the culture of Linux expects software to be free and I think that can scare viable developers.

I've been out of the loop with Linux for a little while, and perhaps my perspective is stale, but the last time I installed pop!os, I was unable to get gotomypc working and that was a show stopper for me. I'd love to dual boot my laptop but until Citrix supports linux (they are the makers of gotomypc), I'm SOL
After researching the topic, I completely agree with you. The free market does not work. Most work on Linux I have seen has the interest of the programmer in perspective and not the user. They build software for them, and not us. While beggars can't be choosers, that also means Linux will never replace Windows/MacOS as an option as these cater to the common user.

In a world where big tech is more and more controlling our lives and locking us to their terms&policies, the FOSS world is the only option we have to gain our freedom back, unfortunately it will not work by being gratis and defragmented.

People will have to pay for software, either with their freedom or their money, and we need the money to make Linux a real alternative with support from most 3rd party software developers.
 

MisterSavage

macrumors 68000
Nov 10, 2018
1,907
1,644
After researching the topic, I completely agree with you. The free market does not work. Most work on Linux I have seen has the interest of the programmer in perspective and not the user. They build software for them, and not us. While beggars can't be choosers, that also means Linux will never replace Windows/MacOS as an option as these cater to the common user.
I don't think replacing Windows/MacOS was ever the goal. It's a well maintained alternative for common users that want to use it that also happens to power a huge percentage of online servers. MacOS has a small of users compared to Windows but I don't consider that a failure either.
 

Mikael H

macrumors 6502a
Sep 3, 2014
692
336
I don't think replacing Windows/MacOS was ever the goal.
Among enthusiasts it probably was. But look at what happens in server rooms: Serious projects need money to keep people working on the boring daily tasks instead of striving for the next generation of "shiny". Many software maintainers solve this by providing a "community" edition of their software which acts as a combination of feature test and demo version for people with more time than money, and beside this they have one or more versions with commercial support and less generous license terms. This would have to happen to many software suites to have them keep evolving to a point where non-nerds can appreciate them.
 

SandboxGeneral

Moderator emeritus
Sep 8, 2010
25,799
8,776
Detroit
But it was, we've heard probably ad nauseam that this year is the year of linux - granted that talk is now long gone for years on end, we heard that year x, will be the year that linux comes into its own and be a viable alternative to the common man.
Yeah, but that is just a subset of the Linux community. Not all of us believe that hype. I'm of the camp that Linux is never going to replace Windows or macOS and that the larger community doesn't want it to either. It's a decentralized community that enjoys the freedoms open-source software provides.

The only real way for Linux to supplant, or ever come close to Windows or macOS is if it becomes monolithic and tightly controlled with a large bank roll behind it. Only then could it compete with the big players. And if that were the case, which one of the plethora of distro's would be "the one"? And therein lies the rub. If that were to happen, then all the principles and core beliefs that FOSS stood for would have disappeared and it would cease to exist and become just another Windows or macOS style platform.
 

MisterSavage

macrumors 68000
Nov 10, 2018
1,907
1,644
Yeah, but that is just a subset of the Linux community. Not all of us believe that hype. I'm of the camp that Linux is never going to replace Windows or macOS and that the larger community doesn't want it to either. It's a decentralized community that enjoys the freedoms open-source software provides.
That's how I am also. I've used Linux for work for a long time and love it but I would never consider it for my only OS for home usage.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SandboxGeneral

SandboxGeneral

Moderator emeritus
Sep 8, 2010
25,799
8,776
Detroit
That's how I am also. I've used Linux for work for a long time and love it but I would never consider it for my only OS for home usage.
I've floated between them all with overlap periods too. I was always a DOS then Windows person. Then in 2006 I got my first Mac and in a few years I was Mac only at home. Then at work a few years ago, I got so pissed at Windows that I wiped my machine and put Linux on it and have been using it since. This past summer at home I made the full time switch to Linux and no longer have a Mac there. I do have a Windows PC at home, but I strictly use that for gaming once in a while.
 
  • Like
Reactions: alex cochez

Mikael H

macrumors 6502a
Sep 3, 2014
692
336
That's how I am also. I've used Linux for work for a long time and love it but I would never consider it for my only OS for home usage.
Frankly, if I couldn't use macOS anymore, I would switch to Linux or one of the BSDs out of spite and live with the consequences. My gaming computer and my home lab is all on Linux and FreeBSD already.
 

retta283

macrumors 68000
Jun 8, 2018
1,542
1,259
Kingman, AZ
I am still riding with macOS Sierra, and once this starts to become obsolete I will move up to Mojave. Unless something really changes I will not upgrade any macOS past that. From my experience with Linux software, it can depend on distro and your knowledge of how to install programs. Some don't come in an easy .pkg or .exe, you have to compile. This is from past experience, I do not know if this has changed. Personally Linux is not the best option for average users, you have to be willing to tinker with it to make it work the way you want it to.

I would use Windows, but Windows 10 is something I do not want. I have a Windows 7 box that runs smooth, and is actually quite a pleasant experience, but support is ending soon. I am not too afraid of that, but I know that in the coming 2-3 years life on 7 will get harder. 8.1 is still an option, but it too will lose support by the mid 20s. Hopefully MS gets their act together soon and makes Windows 10 a solid platform.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
65,612
31,729
Boston
Not all of us believe that hype.
You are correct that in 2019, its a forgone conclusion that Linux isn't, but years ago it wasn't such a forgone conclusion and many people were trying to unseat windows. Maybe it was people tilting at windmills but it was popular fodder for the technical writers of the day.
 

MacBH928

macrumors 68040
Original poster
May 17, 2008
3,667
1,280
I don't think replacing Windows/MacOS was ever the goal.
I think that is exactly the point. Richard Stallman who created GNU with Linux kernel that gives us the current day Linux distros advocates for FOSS so much that he is unwilling to use any software, service, or hardware that contains any proprietary code.

If it wasn't the goal I don't think they would have added the bells and whistles to KDE and simplified the installation methods because system admins and programmers couldn't care less since they live in the terminal.

Yeah, but that is just a subset of the Linux community. Not all of us believe that hype. I'm of the camp that Linux is never going to replace Windows or macOS and that the larger community doesn't want it to either. It's a decentralized community that enjoys the freedoms open-source software provides.
Actually I think all the pieces are there already, the missing part is 3rd party software+support. There is nothing that Windows or MacOS can do that Linux can't, it just does not have the "apps".
 

MisterSavage

macrumors 68000
Nov 10, 2018
1,907
1,644
If it wasn't the goal I don't think they would have added the bells and whistles to KDE and simplified the installation methods because system admins and programmers couldn't care less since they live in the terminal.
Is this what you've heard or what you've experienced? I'm a programmer that has used Linux for work for years and while terminal use is frequent it's by no means all I use.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SandboxGeneral

Mikael H

macrumors 6502a
Sep 3, 2014
692
336
I think that is exactly the point. Richard Stallman who created GNU with Linux kernel that gives us the current day Linux distros advocates for FOSS so much that he is unwilling to use any software, service, or hardware that contains any proprietary code.
If there’s an opinion to be had, I’m sure you’ll find hardliners supporting it.. :)

If it wasn't the goal I don't think they would have added the bells and whistles to KDE and simplified the installation methods because system admins and programmers couldn't care less since they live in the terminal.
Not arguing against your main point, but anecdotally I was at a conference recently, where I saw a handful of Windows machines but mainly a 50/50 split between various MacBooks and mostly Thinkpads running some Linux variant or other. While almost everybody did have a terminal window or more on their screen, even the most hardcore of the Linux users there were running at the very least a window manager but more commonly a desktop environment.
Just saying that quality of life improvements are important even to most nerds...
 

SandboxGeneral

Moderator emeritus
Sep 8, 2010
25,799
8,776
Detroit
While almost everybody did have a terminal window or more on their screen, even the most hardcore of the Linux users there were running at the very least a window manager but more commonly a desktop environment.
Just saying that quality of life improvements are important even to most nerds...
Couldn't agree more. I used to be a sysadmin, but I didn't live entirely in a terminal. I used a normal desktop environment for a long time.

These days I run a window manager and I do have and use several terminal shell applications daily, but I still have a mix of GUI apps running at the same time.
- - Post merged: - -

There is nothing that Windows or MacOS can do that Linux can't, it just does not have the "apps".
I'll disagree there. I'm confident that there is an app or script on Linux that can accomplish the same goals that apps on other platforms can do. The difference isn't that there is or isn't an app, rather, it's that there is a different way to do the same thing. It just takes a person to learn a new way, a new method or a new program to achieve the same end.