Consumer operating systems in 2013

<geek-rant> We’re halfway through 2013 and it just took me nearly 3 hours to get my brand new Lenovo laptop to dual boot Linux and win 8. (Story about needing win8 comes later). What the crap? Don’t worry, equal hate for both platforms in this rant.

1) For starters, win8 boots *awfully* slowly, even before I started messing with things (like, 3x longer than ubuntu on the same machine). Also, thoroughly not enjoying win8 in the half hour I’ve used it so far today (McAfee? Authorization dialogs that take over the entire screen? Every 10 seconds? And, goodness does it feel sluggish doing basic things)

2) Why does the ubuntu liveusb not have working graphics? I had to manually edit the kernel boot params to disable modesetting to even get to the installer!

3) And of course, once the installer was done it broke the ability to boot into windows (it actually wrote a grub config with an invalid command AND using the wrong partition AND using the wrong chainloader directive??!?).

4) Finally, it didn’t even install itself correctly! VESA was broken and it didn’t download FGLRX during install, so I had to setup the proprietary AMD drivers by hand, from VT1, with 80 columns of white-on black text.

Granted, the machine is running hardware that’s less than a year old, but that’s not an excuse anymore. If it were 2005 this would be alright, but it’s absolutely unacceptable in 2013.

Clearly something is systemically wrong here — but what, and how does the ecosystem need to change to fix this? Consumer operating systems are painfully simple compared to what’s running state of the art in the datacenter (I know this from first hand experience), we as a collective geekdom should be able to solve this.


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