[Opinion] We need more applications and consistent interfaces in GNU / Linux

In the last week I have been using Windows 8 practically full time, which helped me to confirm two things:

  1. I can't stop using GNU / Linux no matter how much you want.
  2. A GNU / Linux alternatives to many programs are still lacking.

The first point is not necessary to address it, because talking about the comforts that GNU / Linux and its Desktop Environments offer us compared to Windows, would be to fall into the same topic as always, and to be fair, my needs are not the same as those of other users.

In the case of the second point, of course I am not talking about all applications, since it is well known that in GNU / Linux we have several alternative applications that fulfill the same function and some of them far exceed their counterparts in others. Operating systems.

But something as simple as a game of Trivia we cannot find it in the repositories easily. For Windows and even Android, we can download Trivia from many sites on the Internet, but in GNU / Linux this topic does not promise.

After an extensive search my results were almost null, if not nonexistent. For example, the only alternative I found for Scrabble, besides the option that KZKG ^ Gaara already offered us es Quackle, which has an installer available for Debian, and a tar.gz for the rest of the distributions, but it is not via Repositories.


Another alternative that promised was Auralquiz, which creates a Trivia game with the songs that we have in our collection, but unfortunately in ArchLinux it can only be installed from AUR and at least for me, it gives me an error when trying to compile.

Auralquiz is in the repositories of debian wheezy, Jessie, Sid y Ubuntu Quantal onwards

It is true that many of these applications we hardly ever use, or we do not need them in many cases, but what if we want to install them?

Of course someone will tell me: If you want something that is not in Linux, create it. And yes, from a certain point it may seem an easy thing on my part to want to have everything, ready to use, but who wouldn't like it?

In any case, the fact that there are no series of applications does not mean that I am not comfortable with the ones I have. They have no idea what torture I have gone through trying to do with Windows 8 what i normally do with ArchLinux y KDE.

Is that not even the applications OpenSource what was i using (Inkscape, GIMP, LibreOffice, Pidgin) they behave the same, because in GNU / Linux they work much better. But that is not the issue.

Many say that GNU / Linux is a long way from reaching a good position as a Desktop OS, and I think that what is lacking are precisely the right applications.

Coincidentally, a friend and I were talking a few days ago about how homogeneous the applications of OS X, and what not Windows ni GNU / Linux They have outlined a design guideline for interfaces. And is that GTK on the one hand and QT on the other, it is normal for this to happen.

If a standard were achieved in terms of the appearance of the interfaces, regardless of whether they are written in Qt or Gtk, we would have almost won the battle.

KDE SC has realized that appearance matters, and that is why they have created a Design Team that is already taking its first steps.

In short, I think that GNU / Linux only needs two things:

  1. More applications.
  2. Standard on interfaces.

What do you think?

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  1.   babel said

    I think it is very difficult to create design lines because that would lead all software designers on the same path, and just what (at least for me) makes GNU / Linux strong is the range of possibilities it opens up. I am one of those who believes that distributions are a good thing, not a bad thing like those who propose that there should be concentration of efforts.

    1.    frameworks said

      HTMl5 can be an alternative?

  2.   pandev92 said

    Well, as kde continue to use oxygen, the applications will not be too elegant. Now, going back to the main topic, the problem of the coherence of the applications is somewhat problematic, but something that bothers me even more is that they do not fully adapt even to the two large environments, a clear example is using rhythmbox under kde …, I would not do it. We should look for a standard from there, but, no matter how much we want to give it, gnome goes its way and hopes that third-party developers apply their style, kde goes for another and unity goes for others, therefore, I don't have much hopes on this issue.

  3.   sayozo said

    A while ago I would have said Drivers in general, but that less and less. And the video drivers but almost not at this point. I think some specific applications are missing.

  4.   David Villa said

    Linux is for Servers & critical applications like Databases or things of greater importance to be used as a simple desktop OS.

    In my case we use CentOS as a web server; with apache & Jboss; I dont complain.
    In my ubuntu I use wine & I love how Microsoft's word & excel works.


  5.   kaltwulx said

    I think what we really lack is people who know about marketing in the technology area. People who can "lift" the name of GNU / Linux, that this gives birth to a standardized distribution or distributions. The problem is that in the Open Source world, everyone can do their bit and offer too many options. I think that to solve this, there should be a standard for developers to adhere to and from there create quality software. Not only in the projects but in the technologies used as comments (GTK and QT).

    For applications like the ones you ask for, we need to attract developers who are not so focused on systems but on desktop. And it is that in GNU / Linux there is a lot of system application developer and that is great but we occupy more for other areas (get closer! XD).

    What if we lack is a great team of designers who offer their imagination and talent to create more attractive systems and applications. And not only that, but we occupy a standard in the GUI. It is not only the backend that matters (which here in GNU / Linux "we are" very good) but also the frontend.

  6.   Insomnia said

    Indeed I agree with what the article says in relation to appearance standards, however I can say from experience in both OS that "I" feel more comfortable in Windows 8 than in Gnome, which is the current environment that I have installed in my second pc. The why? It may be due to the hours of work that I spend in Windows 8 and that makes the habit lead me to be more comfortable, although in Gnome I have a lot of ease to handle it I always have the feeling that something is missing and perhaps it is that integration that currently has w8. With respect to KDE, the times that what you put it seems that the monitor comes to life automatically, unlike Gnome that turns it off completely, it lights it up, however it seems to me that it is lagging behind precisely in the user interfaces.
    Unfortunately, even if I put all the desire in the world, it seems to me that Linux environments lack a turn, Gnome and Unity I believe they are on that path but they are missing so that they have a massive acceptance (if that is what is intended). At the level of use for work of course they represent fewer distractions.
    But it is only my opinion.

  7.   Fungus said

    Well, I don't know what more applications are needed. For gamers for example (it is not my case) there is already an increasingly large catalog in steam, design applications, video and photography we have Inkscape, gimp, trimage, libreoffice, scribus, krita, calligra, pitivi, lightworks etc and without speaking of which I have run with wine at 100% (Photofiltre Studio X, Photoscape). There are many players and only with VLC is more than enough for multitasking audio and viewing. …and we go on.

  8.   Leo said

    They will kill me for this comment, but if Android applications could be supported natively in Linux (they are virtualbox or emulators) it would be a great shower of pretty good applications and kick games. but he did not think it was so easy, otherwise something like that would already exist.

    1.    Leo said

      I wrote anything. I wanted to say nothing about VirtualBox or emulators.

    2.    nsz said

      It would be interesting but in any case better I look for and install andriod

  9.   PICCORO Lenz McKAY said

    What a banal subject .. windows are used for two reasons and here only one addresses leisure ..

    the other is business, in a small SME, windo is used because here it already has the payroll (payroll), the CRM (with point of sale and businesses) adding the plus that can be "cracked" without losing the support of the manufacturer ( cheating and piracy)

    As it is already used in the company, the worker uses it at home, and his son uses it and so follows the chain, and therefore the game comes out for the system that the PAYER (father or mother) is already using.

    1.    elav said

      Well, if that's why my friend, we have to say that Windows reaches SMEs because manufacturers sell their equipment with this OS already installed. In other words, the thing comes from a little higher.

      1.    Carlos said

        Hello good post elav, but in SMEs what I have noticed in my daily work is that there are no applications, many clients would like to use their mac or gnu \ linux (more mac) but there are no solutions for SMEs on these platforms as mature as on windows 🙁

  10.   Gallux said

    The most important: come pre-installed.

    1.    eliotime3000 said

      Or offer the installation of GNU / Linux on demand when buying a new PC (there is more money than pre-installing it).

  11.   Flavio said

    I agree with what you write, I did not find a decent tumblr client.
    If we speak purely of the graphical interface of applications, it seems to me that sometimes it seeks to imitate an existing application. Which I understand on the one hand and on the other I think that sometimes one has to try to create or contribute something different.
    Another thing with which I do not agree is with "If you want something and it does not exist, create it" because there are many people who are not in a position to do it and also I consider that it goes against the paradigm that Linux is for any user. Be careful, you cannot demand that there be a certain application either, because logically Linux is free.
    In short, I think that the growth of Linux was thanks to the generosity of the community, so the best thing is to contribute what one can to it, no matter how minimal.

  12.   Sacks said

    Hello elav,
    There really are design guides for almost every environment:
    What happens if you develop a GNOME application, you should be guided by those guides and obviously KDE has its own, resulting in the mix of interfaces that we have right now.
    I like GNOME for its simplicity and I tend to prefer installing GNOME applications for 2 reasons: Not loading KDE and GNOME libraries.
    A KDE application in GNOME does not fit or backwards 😛 (be careful, the reverse is the same).
    I find it difficult for them to unify because a KDE developer will always pull for KDE and a GNOME developer for GNOME (I'm talking about the 2 most used).
    Greetings and congratulations on the article.

  13.   EGR said

    I agree that applications are missing, although I have found applications in linux that I have not seen before in others or I have not seen them with the same ease, I think there is still a huge disproportion of software between windows and linux, for example. I'm talking about my daily experience, especially observing my wife, who switched to linux to test, and feels comfortable, but ... sometimes she is missing something that is more easily found in other OS.
    Regarding the design, it does lack a bit of coherence, but in "windows" it also happens and people do not complain so much (or if they complain, they do not give it as much importance). I have hardly seen a tuned windows, most of the time what I have seen is the default background, and the default theme 😀

    1.    vicky said

      That is something that bothers me a bit, nobody complains that in windows the applications use different toolkits or that there are more than two musca players, but in linux they create a scandal ...

      1.    eliotime3000 said

        It's like the Joker meme:

        A new program comes out in Windows that does more of the same, and nobody says anything; They do the same on GNU / Linux and everyone loses their minds

        Anyway, enough crotch kicks for today.

  14.   Catalina Maya said

    Speaking of design, didn't you see the billing system in the ubuntu software center? the Khitomer, is made in Qt + QML, look at the photos in the software center, it is a very interesting interface.

    Greetings from Colombia.

  15.   eliotime3000 said

    What is really needed in GNU / Linux is the following:

    -Focus on the user experience, since the graphical interfaces that GNU / Linux applications have, for the most part, are mediocre (the exceptions can be counted with your hands).

    -Stop jumping the ball when it comes to choosing the ideal distro, since many choose the GNU / Linux distro that does not suit the needs of each person (the most stable distros tend to adapt faster to the needs of each type of user than those that are specifically designed for those purposes).

    With "standardizing" what it will cause is more "fragmentation" than it already has (the so-called fragmentation is not as serious as it happens in Android), but to make a true order so that a good choice of a certain application software can be made / GNU / Linux distro.

  16.   Rolo said

    I would like the desktops to be in separate repositories, I see that in gnome and kde lately the development cycles are too short, for example: in debian if you go from wheezy to jessi you are going from gnome 3.4 to gnome 3.8-3.10 is say the jump is very big due to the short development cycles and with many changes, which is a coconut burner when making the change. If the cycles were 4 or 5 years there would be much less problems. And if the desktops would be in separate repos one could be in testing and maintain an old-stable desktop. I say xp is a desktop that takes 10 years and one can run any program that should be done in any linux without going crazy trying to solve dependencies

  17.   ken torrealba said

    Not only standard of Interfaces, but rather standard in installers or packages to distribute the programs. In linux there are ".deb", ".rpm", etc.

    This means that the space on a server has to be doubled, by having the same program more than once for different distributions and their packages, apart from the source code (some).

    Or sometimes, you cannot find your package according to your linux and you must compile it, that is also a problem, but it originates because the creator of the program does not have time or knowledge or space to package his program for all existing packages.

    Look at the Java example, just one type of packaging; look at the case of Android, a single type of packaging. That's the idea

    1.    Megane samurai said

      Without being an expert on the subject, it seems to me that each type of package has its advantages and disadvantages, so establishing a standard would be frankly impossible. In addition, obviously the distributions that do not use this format would not agree to change their package manager, re-upload their entire repository in the format that is decided to be the standard, modify their documentation, etc ...
      Just remember the scandal we saw recently when debian decided to replace sysvinit, a pitched battle between those who supported systemd and those who supported upstart. And that in a single distribution, just imagine the scenario where a package standard was chosen for all distributions (and for the record, I said imagine, since I repeat this would be impossible).

  18.   Rolo said

    ehh they deleted my answer ??? by?? ¬¬

    1.    Rolo said

      I see that they did not delete anything 😀 only that some comments once published are there, but after a while they disappear and after a while they reappear Oo xddd

  19.   Mario Guillermo Zavala Silva said

    I completely agree; Although the problem is that GNU / Linux makes you think in another way, that is, not to continue thinking like when you work in Windows ,,, It happened to me about 10 months ago when I left Win 7 for LinuxMint Maya.
    Thank you very much for the information… .. GREETINGS !!!

  20.   pixie said

    By Coherent Interface, do you mean something like what Google did on Android 4+ with its "Holo" interface?
    They have a page where they put the bases of the interface (Fonts, colors, Styles etc) so that developers can have a Base

  21.   let's use linux said

    Interesting. I believe that GNOME and KDE are going in that direction: the unification of the graphical interface of their applications, right?
    Cheers! Paul.

  22.   Tesla said

    I don't think it's a lack of apps problem. I explain:

    In GNU / Linux there are many applications. There are many desktop environments, media players, text editors, office suites, etc. The average user has many options available to them. The problem comes, perhaps, with specific applications. Although, although it is true that there is always (or except in a few cases) an alternative, many times this does not replace the equivalent used by the guild on duty. For example, the typical discussion of Photoshop, Autocad, etc.

    Saving those applications, mostly proprietary. I think that GNU / Linux is one of the systems where there are more applications. Another thing is that they are liked by the average user for having an ugly interface or even no interface.

    Which brings us to the next point: interfaces.

    I don't see as essential to have a consistent interface between applications. Each person chooses to program in one language and interface in another "language." That choice, often by chance, motivates the programmer or designer to create something good. Forcing the use of style guides seems to kill the individual creativity of each person.

    Someone will say: "To use a KDE application I have to load KDE media." To which I would reply: "And?" If that application is useful to you, what else does it look like? It is clear that you have to meet certain limits and not waste computer resources like crazy. Besides that it can surely be done so that it does not load KDE, Gnome or any other environment. What I mean is that sometimes we forget that applications don't have to be pretty or look good on our desktop. Its usefulness must be emphasized more.

    I've seen Ubuntu installations where they use Kile (Qt), Mono applications, GTK, and it all seems like a weird mix of programs. Instead, that PC allowed you to need what you need could be done immediately. And when you are really working, at least in my case, you are indifferent that everything is beautiful or is a terminal. What you want is to be practical. And that, I think, is the important thing.

    Greetings and excellent article!

  23.   Mauricio said

    The real problem with GNU / Linux is that many of its users are hipster at best, why do I say it? Simple, it comes from Gnome Shell and Unity, it caused half the world to create a fuss and I don't know how many forks will be created. , and new environments, just to avoid being standardized.

    Unfortunately, until they change that philosophy, the name of Linux on the desktop cannot be improved, because there will always be someone who says, "I don't like that, I'll make my own version" and although that is not bad, in the Linux world that is go every other day.

    In terms of application design, I am a programming student and UI design lover, and I always worry that things look the best, but that one can only convince many that they only care that it works (even if it looks horrible) is very difficult; A clear example of this is Libreoffice, whose interface, despite being functional, is from the 90s, something that is no longer acceptable now (it hurts whoever hurts)

  24.   Tirso said

    I think that many like the idea of ​​being able to choose their favorite interface. Regards!

  25.   karlggest said


    When it comes to interfaces, you are without a doubt referring to the enthusiasm that the Windows 8 interface arouses. I suppose that with homogeneous applications you mean the interface of, for example, MS Office 2007, and its love affair with its own users.

    In short, look for reasons where everything was supposed to be clear.

  26.   adeplus said

    Forgive me for this long entry.

    I think we are wrong. Uniformity seems like a lousy effort to me. Why should everything obey the same reasons and do the same? For that we already have Microsoft and Apple. Are they role models?

    GNU / Linux is not available to everyone. It's easy, it's comfortable, but it depends on the user. I have observed that many of us come to this SW "fleeing" from what is imposed. But we are not so many who have managed to stay. You still read whimpers like "I'll go back." Is it the OS's fault?

    The fight of the desks is spurious. He supports with nothing. I have used PCs with a base desktop (KDE, Gnome2, Gnome3, Xfce) with programs that dragged half a foreign desktop. If I consider that Okular is the best reader of mixed files (text-graphics), what will be in gtk. We forget that we should consider the desktop as part of the OS. Each one solves the needs of the user in their own way, but the user is sovereign. I prefer a healthy competition, a close coexistence, to the uniformity of the herd. I have read the best criticisms about desktops not about whether one in particular gains six nanoseconds at startup to that other but about how it makes life easier to use this one or another. To him, to the user.

    Large companies seek their profit. It is legitimate. What are you looking for in linux ?: strength, stability, capacity. Where are they directing their efforts ?: maximum spread (Intel), large servers (IBM), place their hardware (Nvidia). The needs of the GNU / Linux user are irrelevant. We are a residual product, ergo if we do not fight for the user's lot, everything will remain as it is. The issue of everything being free (it's relative, and everyone thinks about money) is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it makes programs and OS available to anyone; on the other, it makes it look second-rate. Heard around: "if they can't even sell it." The image can be improved. We speak of alternatives in a degree of excellence; Outside, an alternative is heard as a degree of «if you can't use something else, try to see». Should we continue to insist on the alternatives, and free?

    Informatics in schools. GNU / Linux should disappear from schools as it stands now. It is a stupid and non-pedagogical fad for our children to be herded into "computer labs" to teach them to use programs to solve sums or put verbs in sentences or to paint and color. I don't know of any college (school) where they even teach them to install an OS, or to check what components the PCs they use have, or to what they can dedicate the resources they have to connect them, for example. To waste time, the MS hitmen are doing very well. I've seen kids doing amazing things with android, so if it's up to the user, let's not impose inappropriate solutions to nonexistent problems.

    The legal imposition seems to me another error. The news that the French Gendarmerie, by law, implanted Ubuntu and it was considered the arrival of Man on the Moon did not seem like good news to me. That the Munich city council gave the legal reason that "it is cheaper" struck me as a horror. The underlying idea is that they could not afford anything better, or that it is an endeavor of the politician on duty. Especially considering that in all probability the boss will have a Macbook Air (with public money) and the official will not.

    I agree that if we reach out to companies, to professionals, the spread to the home will be faster and more efficient. I miss articles dedicated to professions. We all talk about how good GNU / Linux is but we still need to define the "for whom". A lawyer should know what programs to use, what to apply them to, and how GNU / Linux is BETTER than what they are using. And I say lawyer, and I could say economist, doctor, office worker, greengrocer, carpenter ... whatever comes to mind. Few know that they can do much better with repository solutions than with cracked downloaders. Furthermore, out of selfishness, we should insist that for everything to work we must all contribute so that the good solutions they use are maintained. We all charge for our work, but the bases of our knowledge have more or less free access (at a cost, I will not deny it). At least it is what we propagate to the four winds. The contribution should be something natural and not lock us into "either free or nothing." And I'm not just talking about money, although that contribution is almost always welcome.

    Perhaps I have spread a little "off-topic". But I think sometimes our wishes go against our actions. And for the record, I consider this to be one of the best sites to learn how to apply the GNU / Linux world to the user's life.

  27.   hernan said

    In conclusion. All these opinions that you expose are summed up in a single word, FRAGMENTATION.
    fragmentation is definitely the big problem why Linux does not succeed on the desktop and it never will.
    The problem is that many do not want to recognize it.

    1.    Morpheus said

      Yes, the damn "fragmentation" the big problem that Ford, Chevrolet, VW, Peugeot, etc., etc., etc. and each one of its hundreds (or thousands) models for the different segments does not succeed any in the car market ...
      Please, the most important thing that GNU / Linux has is freedom, which allows us that fragmentation.
      The only real problem is the monopoly that is imposed based on the pre-installation of the other OS.
      The rest are pure unnecessary speculation.

  28.   saeron said

    Well ubuntu does have a pattern for those who want to follow it, and the truth is that it looks very good. Another thing is that people want to use it.

  29.   Chiwy said

    I rather suffer a lot when I use Mac or Windows and I don't know how to do things or everything becomes more complicated, especially since I've gotten more into the command line in GNU / Linux.

    And it is that in proprietary systems it is often a headache to get a program or the "crack" to install it, while in my Crunchbang Linux I can install almost everything I need with an apt-get install ...

  30.   Gustavo Noseda said

    I recently started using GNU / linux, first I tried Ututo on live cd, now I use Mint Maya and the truth is, the only thing I miss about using uindous is the games; otherwise I find it much more comfortable, Mint than W8 or XP, or any other. I think using APT-GET on a console is better than going through pages forever to install a 200mb program. The diversity of distributions, environments and others, is the greatest strength that we have in free software. Entering into standardizing things is limiting creativity and ending up doing the opposite that is sought with free software.