Linux, Elitism and complexity

Although this started as a response, this will probably end up in some random tangents with some weird rambling.

So I had to make a new post today, since, as always I haven’t done a lot of posts lately.

This started as a response to Kev’s latest post, about what’s wrong with the Linux community. His posts are always quite enjoyable, but this time I felt like I got something to say

If I understood correctly, one of the main problems with the Linux community, is the tendency of promoting overly complicated solutions for different problems and software utilities. However, I don’t really think that’s completely true.

I kinda think most of the software that Linux nerds like to use is just hard to explain, but that’s just because we like to complicate our own lives for the sake of having an easier time later. Of course, most of the time we are infinitely looking for ways to optimize our workflow and we end up never actually working

Lets look at the Email clients example, one of the main reasons they are useful is because they allow to manage multiple accounts at a time. The average user seems to have less than 2 email addresses.

Of course a feature rich native client will make not sense for them!, but its going to be worth it for a lot of advanced users, I personally have 6 email accounts logged in with Thunderbird, and I can’t see myself using a web client for each, it’s one of the reasons using Protonmail kinda sucks, because the free tier doesn’t allow the use of IMAP clients.

So yeah, there is no problem here, the complexity of the solution exists because of the complexity of the problem, a problem that an average user would probably never have anyways.

Of course, Kev’s point might still be valid when it comes to people that actually just need a single email account and just want to setup their own server to feel cool, but that’s more of a personal thing, not a problem with the community itself.

Simple solutions exist too

Besides, if you look at it that way, any email client, or even RoundCube, is not that complex of a solution for managing dozens of accounts at once!

Outside of email, there are countless tools that do make life easier while still being user friendly.

  • Syncthing is still one of my favorite tools, and its extremely simple to setup compared to similar solutions, and its probably the best tool for the job.
  • KDE Connect, while a little buggy, is also a really cool program that mostly works and its awesome, its also, the best tool for the job.
  • Bitwarden, while not used by me, is still the best solution for most people. And I am kinda tempted to return to it.
  • OBS Studio, while a little complex, is the one and only streaming/recording solution worth using, and while there are some FFMPEG elitists out there, they don’t count.
  • Czkawka, while not as well known, its the best thing I’ve found to find duplicates, similar images and the like, it has saved me a lot of storage

While typing this, I realized that these are simple solutions for complex problems, but most people still don’t want to deal with them.

Final thoughts

Yes, there is a a lot of elitism in the Linux community, I kinda feel like an elitist while writing this, but I still believe that there is something to be said about the simplicity of open source tools that are still being ignored by the average guy.

Despite the effort, people will still use the same password everywhere, people will still send files via email to themselves, people will keep logging into 4 different web clients to check their mail and they won’t even bother cleaning up their system from unnecessary files.

I know that we might be at fault sometimes, because of the way we present these tools, some people think they are too good to be true, or that its still not worth the hassle.

Sometimes a small pebble is enough of an excuse to avoid the easier way. People like to stay with what they know, and yes, we should not force them to change. In the end, what works for you is fine, I guess.

This has been day 61 of #100DaysToOffload


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