1. Difficulties with installation
For many inexperienced users, problems in Linux begin with the installation of the OS. Usually fans of the “penguin” system argue that there is nothing easier than doing this. But there are some nuances here.
Ubuntu, Mint or Fedora installers can automatically place a new system next to Windows, keeping all the data. But less “polished” distributions are quite capable of confusing a beginner with all sorts of “partitions”, “disk partitions”, “superusers” and “mount points”. Moreover, the system will not give any explanations and comments.
An inexperienced user can easily inadvertently erase documents, files and photos from a disk and, after installation, find that only bare Linux remains on the computer.
And in especially advanced distributions like Arch, installation is generally carried out through the command line, and it becomes very problematic to complete it without a manual.
Archeologists, however, even find a reason for pride in this.
Among other things, the installers of many distributions are full of all sorts of little problems that constantly ruin life. For example, if you chose the Cyrillic layout in the same Manjaro, then it becomes simply impossible to switch to English.
And after the installation is complete and you reboot, you will find that you cannot enter your newly set user password, because it needs Latin characters. This is extremely annoying.
Solution. Use the most popular and simple distributions: Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora, openSUSE or Debian. Read the Linux installation guide before doing anything with your computer. Don’t forget about data backups.
2. A large number of distributions
Windows exists in two forms: Home and Pro. macOS is generally one and indivisible. So the choice is easy to make.
Linux, on the other hand, is divided into dozens and hundreds of very different distributions – there are already more than 700 of them in total. And deciding which one to install is still the same problem.
Arguing over which distribution is better is a favorite pastime of fans of this OS.
A beginner who decides to install Linux can easily get confused. In addition, choosing some exotic distribution with many hidden problems, you can permanently discourage yourself from using Linux in the future.
In addition, distributions are often incompatible with each other, and your favorite program on the new system can easily refuse to work.
And finally, this diversity leads to the fact that developers spread their efforts. Instead of working together to perfect the most popular solutions, everyone tends to build their own Linux “with boring wallpapers”, only producing fragmentation.
Solution. Same as in point one. Use only the most popular and simple distributions: Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora, openSUSE or Debian. Do not go for less common and exotic options, because their support and compatibility are far inferior to the mentioned “big five” mastodons.
3. Lack of a universal source of programs
A lot of the most diverse software has been created for Linux. And it is also installed in different ways.
Most of the apps you need are pretty easy to download: open the store, select the one you want, and click Install. But sometimes there is no suitable software in the repository, and then the adventure begins.
Some programs are installed in the Snap-package format, others – in AppImage, others – in Flatpak, and all this disgrace peacefully coexists in one distribution kit. Such an assortment of formats leads to the fact that the entire system is clogged with unnecessary files and even the simplest applications begin to take up an indecent amount of space.
And if the program you need is supplied under your distribution kit only in the form of source codes, then you have to build it manually, which is quite difficult for a beginner.
Especially if the author of the software did not provide his offspring with step-by-step instructions.
And finally, if you want to connect a repository of some program to your distribution, then when you update the system, it can easily cease to be compatible. Installing some specific old software on Linux is still the same task.
Solution. Unfortunately, this disgrace will have to come to terms. Well, or switch to Arch – in it even rare software is downloaded through the extensive AUR repository and the installation is at least somehow standardized. However, there are plenty of other bugs here.
4. Black screen of death
Linux fans are very proud that their system does not have blue screens of death, like some Windows. At the same time, they are delicately silent about the “black screens of death” and “kernel panic”.
The problem manifests itself like this: you installed the system, rebooted, and hop – a black screen and a blinking cursor in the corner, no reaction to keystrokes.
In the event of a “kernel panic”, the system will at least give out some obscure text that can be googled if you have time to write it down. No conveniences like QR codes with error content, as in Windows 10, are provided.
Solution. Unlike BSoD in Windows, the Linux black screen, as a rule, “hangs” the system not quite tightly – it remains possible to call the console and do something with the OS. However, in most cases it is much easier to simply reinstall the distribution kit, reviving the data from the backup. So to reiterate: don’t forget to back up.
5. No Google Drive Client
A trifle, but annoying. It would seem that Google is very fond of Linux. The company’s employees work on their own gLinux operating system based on Debian. The brainchild of the corporation – Chrome OS – was created on the basis of Gentoo Linux. Google servers also use Linux.
However, if you open Google Drive, you will be prompted to download a client for either Windows or macOS. It is sad.
Solution. If you enter your account details in the system settings, in most distributions with GNOME and KDE, Google Drive will appear right on the panel of your file manager and work fine.
The only thing is: to edit the contents of the cloud storage, you will need an Internet connection – you will not be able to work without the Network and then synchronize. Those who do not like this will have to switch to Dropbox, MEGA and other services with clients for Linux.
6. Lack of a unified interface
Unlike Windows and macOS, where the system interface is always the same, on Linux it can be extremely flexible to customize through the so-called shells, or desktop environments. By choosing the right environment, you can make the OS fast and minimalistic or feature-packed and fancy – as you wish.
Unfortunately, for inexperienced users, this advantage turns into another disadvantage.
Firstly, because of such a variety, it becomes difficult to explain what and how to do in order to achieve the desired result. If you have GNOME and your friend has KDE, you can send him screenshots and recordings from your screen as much as you like – he will not be able to reproduce your actions.
Interface developers in Linux design settings, system menus and panels in all sorts of ways, and you don’t have to wait for some common logic from different graphical environments.
Secondly, due to the variety of interfaces, programs designed for one graphical environment will look like Frankenstein’s monsters in another shell.
Try running an application from a KDE distribution in some GNOME or XFCE and you’ll quickly get sick just looking at the screen. It looks like a program from the times of Windows 95 in Windows 11 – it works, but it hurts the eyes.
Solution. Designers and people with a heightened sense of beauty should play it safe and continue using macOS. If the desire to switch to Linux overpowers, it is worth installing a system with the most polished interface like Linux Mint with Cinnamon or Kubuntu with KDE and not running programs designed for other graphical environments on it.
7. Problems with hibernation
Hibernation is a mode in which the computer saves the contents of its RAM to the hard disk and shuts down. This is a great thing that allows you to make turning the system on and off really fast.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of Linux distributions have historically had problems with hibernation: it seems to be there, but it is either not available or does not work as it should.
Solution. You can still enable hibernation in Linux, but for this you have to sweat. The corresponding instructions are available on the Internet. And if you have a system with GNOME, you will also need to install a special extension.
8. Lack of games
It is difficult to recommend Linux to fans of computer gaming. Due to the low prevalence of the system, game developers often prefer not to port their products to Linux, because they reasonably believe that the process will not pay off anyway. So a huge number of new titles pass by.
Solution. Problems with games are gradually being solved, and it is quite possible that in the future this OS will become quite a good gaming platform. So, Valve’s new Steam Deck runs on a modified Arch with Proton technology, which allows you to run most Windows games on Linux.
Similar functions are performed by tools like Lutris and PlayOnLinux. Steam in most distributions is also available for download directly from the app store.
9. Having a lot of useless programs
If you download and install any Linux Mint, Ubuntu or openSUSE, then after booting the system you will be greeted by a menu full of a wide variety of icons. And not all pre-installed applications will be useful to you.
Why do you need Calc if you don’t work with spreadsheets? Why embed formula editors and a database management system into a distribution if you only want to use the machine to surf the web and play video games from time to time?
Finally, why do distribution developers continue to build email clients into the OS with enviable tenacity, if most people check their mail in the browser?
Another problem is the presence in the Linux app stores of a significant number of completely useless applications. Old text editors that haven’t been updated in years, hundreds of Sudoku variations, obscure buggy indie games that no one plays…
It is absolutely not clear why the repositories should be filled with so much stupid garbage.
Solution. Fortunately, in Linux, almost all pre-installed applications can be uninstalled with a single click. Unlike Windows, where, by the way, this is somewhat more difficult to do.
The advantage of Linux is the presence of so-called minimalistic installations. Check the appropriate box when installing the distribution, and you will get a “bare” system, where there is nothing but a browser, and everything you need is easy to download on your own.
As for the old unsupported software in the repositories… Well, you’ll have to pay attention to package update dates and take a closer look at what you’re installing.
10. Lack of the right software
Perhaps the biggest obstacle that keeps users from switching to Linux is the lack of specialized professional applications for work. For example, the same package from Adobe – Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver, Premier, as well as Microsoft Office, Final Cut, Wondershare Filmora and much more.
All of these programs have free Linux alternatives, but they tend to be inferior to their competitors in terms of their capabilities. In addition, mastering the interface of a new tool and retraining even for a professional often becomes too long, energy-consuming and thankless task.
Solution. If alternative programs like GIMP, Krita, Inkscape, and OpenShot don’t work for you, and you can’t do without Adobe and Microsoft products, there are two options. The first is to run the desired software through the Wine application. The second is to install Windows in VirtualBox. True, both methods are quite demanding on computer resources.
11. Problems with drivers
With more or less popular hardware, Linux interacts no worse than Windows. In most cases, you don’t even need to configure anything – just connect the necessary peripherals, and it will work itself. If this does not happen, you need to open the “Driver Manager” (or its equivalent in your distribution), enter the administrator password and wait until the system downloads and installs everything itself.
But if you are the proud owner of some rare or old and unsupported equipment, you are in for long hours of fascinating reading of manuals and working with the terminal. In especially neglected cases, drivers have to be compiled independently from the archive with source codes.
For avid Linux fans, this is entertainment, a kind of sport. It is obvious that such guys simply did not play enough with the designers in their time.
But for users who just want to make their ten-year-old printer work, these fun things are unlikely to come close.
Solution. Before you buy any new hardware, google how well it plays with Linux.
12. Frequent use of the terminal
Modern Linux distributions are much friendlier to inexperienced users than they were 15 years ago. But working on the command line or terminal is still the hallmark of the operating system.
This is partly helpful. It happens that something does not work in the OS and you find a solution on some Linux forum like Ask Ubuntu. In Windows, you would have to wander through the menus and settings for a long time, but here you just need to open the terminal, enter the commands you find – and everything is suddenly repaired.
But this same feature sometimes develops into a problem. If reasonable instructions for this or that case could not be found, an inexperienced user is left face to face with the terminal and, of course, cannot repair the system even by typing.
The situation becomes especially piquant if some settings in the graphical interface of the distribution kit are simply not available and they can only be changed in the terminal, which has yet to be figured out.
In addition, if a beginner inadvertently copies some dangerous command slipped to him as a joke into his terminal, he can easily format the disk or do something else like that.
Solution. Carefully read the transcripts of the commands that you enter into the terminal.