The Airing of the Grievances: Merry Festivus, 2019

Merry Festivus and welcome to the Airing of the Grievances, 2019.

For those who don’t want to hear negative-sounding things, be warned that this thread is not for you. Grievances will be aired, long rants will ensue (hopefully with enough wittiness to make them worth reading). It’s that one day of the year, Festivus, where this is to be expected, heck, even enjoyed.

Inner Frank Costanzas will be channeled.

But first, where is the Festivus Pole, you ask? Right here:

It’s a beauty, with a flair of jolly red festive highlighting, yet not totally obscuring its authentic aluminum pedigree. The pounded metal at the top tells of a passionate and rigorous sledge-hammering, true to the spirit of Festivus.

The rustic setting, with the beautiful bridge and flowing creek adds to the ambience. Subtleties like these make for a tough act to follow for next year’s Festivus pole.

Please allow me the honor of the first Grievance Airing. (clears throat) (Gravelly New York Yiddish accent)

  1. Too many Distros!

    If you’re not creating or actively supporting one of the top-10, heck, even top-15 Distros at Distrowatch, then you need to contemplate the phrase “if you can’t beat 'em, join 'em!” Why can’t you find one of those top-15-ish Distros to contribute to? That would strengthen the community, not divide it!

    It’s your ego which makes you believe you can be the next Linus Torvalds. As if! I’m sorry, but the Wild-West period is over. How can new Distros seriously hope to gain mainstream relevancy, let alone that number 1 spot? We’ve already got plenty of great Distros, thank you very much. It’s about UX refinement now, and listening to and caring about what the average-joe users of the world actually want. This, along with tight hardware integration, is what will lift the Linux desktop above that glass ceiling of an embarrassing 2ish % market share.

    Just think of the thousands of hours of person-power that go into all those dozens and dozens of runner-up Distros:

Those hotdog-stand Distros actually do more harm than good, for the community as a whole. In the grand scheme of things, they seem to serve no other purpose than eventually disappointing Linux newbies, once they fall short, somehow or other. Those dejected newbies might have stood a chance with a much more spit-polished Distro, closer to number 1. So please quit muddying the waters, and make it simpler for newbies to choose. Humans like to have a choice, from 3 to 7 choices! Not hundreds! Quit vexing the newbies!

Must I repeat? 2%! Count them! One, two!!

  1. Too many competing projects and frameworks!

    Just because there is a nice “Fork” button in Github, don’t you press it unless you’ve tried everything you could to co-operate with the original project, so as to keep the community united. Come on people, consider how bad a Schism in the community is. The band Anthrax had a song all about Schism, repeatedly saying how “a house divided can’t stand!”, with blistering thrash metal in the background. Go take a listen!

    That “Fork” button should be renamed the “Schism” button, and Microsoft might as well cackle with glee every time you press it.

  2. Too many ARM boards!

    Look, the Raspberry Pi raised the bar really high. Look at how nice and stable 32-bit Raspbian ARM is! (Gesticulates in the direction of the UK)

    Any board which doesn’t have that kind of nice, stable Distro to go along with it should be disqualified from all consideration whatsoever. And don’t you dare release a board with a SATA port (or M.2 slot), for public sale, without a rock-solid, mainline kernel driver to go with it. Are you listening, Pine?

    It’s about to be 2020, and affordable, good-quality ARM boards with stable, full-speed SATA are still, for some reason, just a cruel mirage, always floating off further in the distance. May the heartless bastards stop pretending that their SATA-equipped boards are actually usable and trustworthy, when it is not so. There’s an Open Source SATA controller by System76. Why is it on no ARM board yet?

    Board designers need to commit staff to seriously spit-polishing their recommended Distro.

    Quit making ARM boards, hoping some army other than yourselves are going to develop a - get this - stable operating system for your intensely quirky board, for free! Nobody wants your SCHLOCK!! (wipes foam off corners of mouth)

    Why can’t they do all the right things to make mainline kernel drivers whenever humanly possible, as the Raspberry Pi foundation very reasonably does? They’ve rightfully wooed the help the community, through their non-horse-apple behavior.

    And as to ARM boards with those flaky Realtek USB controllers? May those boards be cast into the bog of eternal stench!

    (flaps arms up and down like Matt Foley, from the Saturday Night Live skit “Van Down by the River”).

That little crab insignia on the Realtek chip is a badge of shame! Dear FriendlyElec, please use that same USB controller that the Raspberry Pi 4 does. It’s cheap enough to fit into that $35 price tag, you know. Or license the use of the eMMC module from Odroid. Are you ever lucky that your office is so far off in China that I can’t throw a rotten egg that far!

For crying out loud, can we please have some reasonably fast, reliable, reasonably cheap onboard flash storage? How about CF cards? The drivers already work great!

  1. Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft

    Where has the decency gone? It’s back in the 1990’s, where we all ran away from it. That was back before there was any need for an “Asshole Design” sub-Reddit!

    Don’t even get me started!

  2. Kids Nowadays

    No Festivus rant would be complete without this section. Those Smartphones are like baby rattles, when will you outgrow them? You don’t even get root access by default! That phone pwns you, it’s not you who pwn your phone, not even if you root it, and install an alternate ROM! If you use it as a tool, fine, but if you use it as a toy, then it’s you who are going to get toyed with.

Your phone is pretty much like those giant, super-creepy centipedes in Asia - bristling with creepy appendages.


If you want to play some video games, then fine. But how about retro games on a retro gaming handheld, or maybe a Raspberry Pi 4? Those older games come from a more innocent time - before modern games grew those creepy tentacles. A Raspberry Pi will grow your brain, and your smartphone will shrink it. Your choice!

Get outside and ride your bike! Or shovel the walk! Or help your mom!

  1. Phone Addiction

    No you don’t need to text your friends while peeing. Mobile first, schmobile first! 5G, Schmive-G! Cellular data networking is a crude, bastard form of networking. Since those 5G cellular towers need to be like 100 meters away from you, why not simply lay fiber that last 100m, and just have fiber to the premises, with WiFi? Then so much of the 1984 nightmare we live in goes away!


Have to agree with #1. There are way too many distros splintering the community. No wonder Linux can’t get a foothold on the desktop if so many distros are splintering the overall Linux user-base.

For a start, I’d lump all the Ubuntu mixes (Lubuntu/Xubuntu/Kubuntu et al) all into one mainline Ubuntu distro. There’s no need for so many different separate projects. Look at Manjaro, it has loads of different spins, but they’re all under one roof. Perhaps just one mega-Distro with a choice of desktop in the installer in a similar manner to Manjaro Architect. Job done.

Secondly, I’d keep distros that serve a specific purpose, like Arcolinux (learning tool), Kali, Blackarch, Tails etc. They’re more tools than a day to day distro. Similarly other specific niche purpose distros, like Sparky or Puppy should remain, as they have specific use-cases.

Next, I’d try to cull a lot of the sibling distros (such as MX vs Antix), in a similar vein to the culling of the individual Ubuntu spins. Ubuntu might’ve been “the one” a few years ago, but it itself has splintered into too many parts to be a challenger now, and kinda proves the point in question.

And I hate to say it, because I really like them, but distros maintained by one guy, or a very small team, such as Salient or Endeavour really need to either start merging or fold. Nobody really needs yet another, very similar fork of an existing distro just for minor flavour points. Plus if anything happens to the person/small team responsible for the distro, it’s yet another dead distro clogging up the Distrowatch rankings, much like CondresOS.

I’d keep the bigger parent distros, such as Arch, Red Hat, Open Suse & Debian intact, as well as the larger downstream versions such as Manjaro, Fedora, Ubuntu, and some smaller respins based on those such as Zorin, Mint & Pop!_OS, although with a new Cinnamon version of Ubuntu, Mint’s days could be numbered…

TL;DR: As above, there are WAY too many distros for a common community to form around something that would be large enough to hit critical mass. If Linux users were all huddled around 1 or 2 different distros such as Arch or Debian, then you might start to see more traction for Linux as a whole.

But at the moment Linux is like the gravitational ecosystem of a solar system that consists of mainly dwarf planets with very few major planets. Nothing is big enough to generate enough gravity to start pulling users in, in big enough numbers to challenge the Betelgeuse-behemoth central star that is Windows.


Yes, this is great thinking. I would suggest that different Distro “spins” not be in seperate isos. For example, I think all Buntus should be on one DVD iso, and the default desktop you’ll get (if you’re a noob, and don’t have any idea what a Desktop Environment is whatsoever) is the vanilla one (gnome based, but looks like Unity), but then there should also be a button in the installer called “Advanced: select alternate Desktop Environment”. Then when you click it, that’s where all the different flavours are picked from: Xubuntu-flavoured XFCE, Kubuntu-flavoured KDE, Ubuntu Mate-flavoured Mate, etc.

So then you still got the flavour you wanted, if you were Advanced enough to know the difference between those flavours, and the noobs just float along, and get the most mainstream, popular vanilla default, without being confronted with what the heck a Deaktop Environment is. The noobs ignore that “Advanced” button, knowing they are a Noob.

This way, both camps are happy; both noobs, and experienced users (who have devloped a refined taste for a particular DE).

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On the topic of the Linux desktop only having a 2% market share, etc, here’s a big thread of recent grievance airing: