From: stormreaver
Written: 2009-01-12 07:45:45.881059
Subject: Kubuntu Failures

Linux is my only operating system at home, and my primary operating system at work. I use Kubuntu for my desktop and server at home, and for my desktop at work. However, it has some irritating failures. These are the types of failures that are infuriating because Kubuntu is otherwise incredibly close to being a great end-user operating system.

I'm only going to address issues that are caused by Linux, specifically Kubuntu. I'm not going to cover issues that are caused by proprietary drivers or plugins, as those are the fault of their respective vendors, not Kubuntu Linux. I'll edit this posting periodically to add and remove issues as I encounter (or remember) them, but here are the ones I can recall at this moment:

1) Replacing a motherboard doesn't remap network interfaces.

We were issued new computer parts at work, so I rebuilt my computer with those parts. The motherboard went in, the old peripherals were installed, the hard drive transferred, and I was back up and running (note that on Linux, if you move your hard drive from one system to another, you don't have to reinstall your software).

The problem I (eventually) discovered is that Kubuntu thought the network interfaces from the old motherboard were still present in addition to the network interfaces it discovered on the new motherboard. I had to manually edit the devices in /etc/network to move my configuration from eth0 to eth2 (both boards have two network interfaces). Kubuntu should have recognized that the network interfaces from the old board were no longer present, and remapped them to the new network interfaces. This would be a show-stopper for a casual user, requiring a visit (and probably payment) to the local technical support store (I'm assuming that Kubuntu is a supported operating system for the sake of argument). The "technicians" that support Windows would probably do the same thing to Linux that they do to Windows, since they tend to either be technologically ignorant or are forced to act that way by management: wipe and reinstall.

2) Random remapping of SATA ports.

This one puzzles me to no end, as I'm not sure this should even be possible. My video card blew up (literally) recently during the normal operation of my system. I tore down my computer several times during my diagnostics before I realized that the video card was the culprit (fortunately, it didn't take anything out with it). After replacing the video card and reinstalling all the peripherals (including the SATA hard drives), I couldn't reboot my computer. Not even a peep from GRUB.

Oh a whim, I reversed the data cables on both the SATA drives, and Linux booted (yay!). I found that several symbolic links I had made between drives no longer worked. In fact, the symbolic links on sda1 now pointed back to directories on sda1 instead of sdb1 (where they should have pointed). I discovered that the formerly sda drive had been mapped as sdb, and vice-versa (my notes in /etc/fstab confirmed the original mounts). This is another show-stopper that would require technical support services.

In the more than fifteen years I've been using Linux, this is the first time something like this has happened to me; so don't think this is a common occurrence. It's just something that should *never* happen.

While Windows gets a free pass on its major defects by virtue of being the entrenched defacto standard, Linux does not have that luxury. Whereas casual users will live with the disasters caused by Microsoft software, they will abandon Linux in a heartbeat for relatively minor (to technically savvy Linux administrators) problems. That is unfortunate, as Linux is far superior to Windows in most ways (Windows does a few things better). Fortunately, these are things that should be easy for kernel maintainers and distribution vendors to fix. Some of them seem (emphasis on "seem") so trivially simple that a regular user can be forgiven for being flummoxed that these problems exist on a major operating system.
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